Today the World Food Prize 2019 has been awarded to the Dutchman Simon N. Groot (84), because of his large and successful commitment to offer millions of small farmers in more than 60 countries a better economic perspective. By significantly improving local small-scale vegetable cultivation, he not only achieved an income increase for small farmers, but also ensured that millions of consumers could benefit from better access to vegetables for a healthier diet with more nutrients.
In the 34 years that the prize has existed, it is the first time that it has been awarded to a Dutchman.
The award of the World Food Prize, also known as the "Nobel Prize in Food and Agriculture," was officially announced today in the US Department of Foreign Affairs by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Kenneth M. Quinn, President of the World Food Prize Foundation.
First Dutch prize winner
"Just like the founder of the green revolution, Dr. Norman Borlaug, Simon Groot has dedicated his life to improving the livelihood of millions of people around the world, "says Kenneth Quinn. “In 1982, he founded East-West Seed with his business partner Benito Domingo in the Philippines, to develop vegetable varieties for the tropical market. He focused, among other things, on improving resistance to pests and diseases, which significantly increased the yields. ”
With the prize, and an amount of U $ 250,000, the World Food Prize Foundation honors the unique achievements of Simon Groot and his company East-West Seed. Over the last forty years, his initiative has led to a dynamic tropical vegetable seed sector and spread from the Philippines to other parts of Asia. East-West Seed is now also successful in Africa and Latin America.
Recognition for the small farmer
"The award of the World Food Prize to a vegetable seed man is already great," said Groot. “But in the end it is of course primarily a recognition for the millions of small farmers who raised their agricultural production. Small-scale vegetable growing is a great way to increase income and employment in rural areas while improving nutrition. The combination of modern science with a long tradition of Dutch craftsmanship in the field of seed breeding has contributed greatly to the growth of the vegetable growing sector in tropical Asia over the past 40 years. Now it is tropical Africa's turn, where high-quality vegetable seeds combined with intensive knowledge transfer programs provide a sustainable source of income for the next generation of African farmers. ”
Prof. Dr. Ir. Louise O. Fresco, Chairman of the Executive Board of Wageningen University and Research says: “I am proud that our scientific research has enabled us to contribute to these developments and to the great success of tropical vegetable growing. Cooperation between all parties is the strength of the Dutch approach. Nobel Prize winner Norman Borlaug is said to have shared Simon Groot's conviction that food security is not just about calories, but also about nutrients that are in good vegetables, such as vitamins and minerals. ”
Simon Groot will receive the World Food Prize on October 17 at a ceremony at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines, Iowa.
World food price
The World Food Prize is the most important international award for those people who have made exceptional achievements to improve the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. The prize was founded in 1986 by Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, recipient of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize. Since then, the World Food Prize has honored 49 outstanding people who have made significant contributions worldwide. http://worldfoodprize.org
East-West Seed is the market leader in tropical vegetable seeds in Asia and is growing rapidly in Africa and Latin America. The family business has played an important role in the development and improvement of tropical vegetable varieties in Southeast Asia and other tropical countries. East-West Seed originated in the Netherlands ('West') and has its roots in the Dutch 'SeedValley'. The main office is now in Bangkok, Thailand ('East').