WorldFish aquaculturalist named winner of the 2005 world food prize
Penang, Malaysia, 10 June 2005 – A WorldFish scientist, recently retired after a 15-year career with WorldFish, has been named winner of the $250,000 World Food Prize for his work to enhance nutrition for over one million people, mostly very poor women, through the expansion of aquaculture and fish farming in South and Southeast Asia and Africa .
Dr. Modadugu V. Gupta's name was announced by Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, President of the World Food Prize Foundation on June 10, 2005, at a ceremony at the U.S. State Department presided over by USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios and Acting Undersecretary of State E. Anthony Wayne.
In making the announcement, Ambassador Quinn indicated that Dr. Gupta, an Indian citizen, had been selected for this honor based on his work at WorldFish, a member of the CGIAR co-sponsored by The World Bank. “Through his dedicated and sustained efforts in Bangladesh, Laos and other countries in Southeast Asia, Dr. Gupta made small scale aquaculture a viable means for over one million very poor farmers and women to improve their family's nutrition and well-being,” Ambassador Quinn stated. As a result of Dr. Gupta's efforts, freshwater fish production has risen dramatically in these countries by as much as three to five times, he added.
The Ambassador explained that Dr. Gupta developed unique methods of fish farming, requiring little cost while causing no environmental damage. As a result, landless farmers and poor women have turned a million abandoned pools, roadside ditches, seasonally flooded fields and other bodies of water into mini-factories churning out fish for food and income. Keen to duplicate the success achieved in Asia, Dr. Gupta is working with a growing number of African countries to implement similar measures.
“Dr. Gupta is truly deserving of receiving the World Food Prize—the foremost international award for increasing the quality, quantity and availability of food in the world—for his achievements in bringing the Blue Revolution to those most in need,” Ambassador Quinn concluded.
Responding to the award announcement, Dr Modadugu said, “Winning the World Food Prize is an honour not only to me but to WorldFish. I am thankful to the many people who supported me in the countries where I have worked. The Prize also gives recognition to the aquaculture sector and its potential to contribute to the food and nutritional security of the poor in developing countries.”
Commenting on his career with WorldFish, Dr Gupta said, “In my early years at WorldFish when I started working with farmers and NGOs in Bangladesh, I was asked why I was doing development work instead of research. My answer was that science by itself will not help to increase production and improve the lives of rural poor. Science must take into consideration the socio-economic fabric and needs of the societies for whom the research is meant.” He added, “WorldFish thereafter fully supported my work having better understood the wider implications of our research.”
Dr Stephen J. Hall, current Director General of WorldFish, stated, “We are truly delighted that Dr Gupta's lifelong dedication and commitment to making a difference in the lives of poor people has been recognized. This award is a testament to the pivotal role that fisheries and aquaculture can play in improving the lives of the poor,” he said.
The World Food Prize will be formally presented to Dr. Gupta at a ceremony on October 13, 2005 in the Iowa State Capitol Building in Des Moines. The ceremony will be held as part of the World Food Prize International Symposium, which will focus on the Twin Global Challenges of Malnutrition and Obesity and Overnutrition. Further information about the Symposium and Laureate Award Ceremony will be available at www.worldfoodprize.org.
World Food Prize Foundation
Emily Westergaard +515- 245-3797
The World Food Prize was conceived by Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, recipient of the 1970 Nobel Prize. Since 1986, The World Food Prize has honored outstanding individuals who have made vital contributions to improving the quality, quantity or availability of food throughout the world. Previous Laureatus have been recognized from Bangladesh, China, Cuba, Denmark, India, Mexico, Sierra Leone, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and the United States. In 1990, Des Moines businessman and philanthropist John Ruan assumed sponsorship of the Prize and established the World Food Prize Foundation, located in Des Moines, Iowa.