2155 SE 37th St., Ste. C+D Grimes, IA 50111

A Brief History of The World Food Prize in Des Moines

The world food prize also known as the “Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture” was envisioned back in 1986 by Norman Borlaug and founded by General Foods Corps. The prize was founded to recognize scientists who are concerned with improving the quality, quantity and availability of food in the world.

The world food prize was later moved to Iowa under the support of the Ruan Foundation. Its headquarters are located at Des Moines. The award is given to recognize contributions in on different fields involved in world food supply. This could be in; science $ technology, poverty alleviation, manufacturing, food and agriculture, marketing, nutrition and others.

History of the world food prize

The world food prize was started after the vision by Norman Borlaug after he won the Nobel Peace prize in 1970. The Nobel peace prize laureate, was perturbed because he received the peace price when his major contributions were in agriculture.

He was known as “the father of the green revolution.” His revolution is said to have saved billions of lives which is why he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Borlaug was an agronomist with a degree in forestry and a master’s degree in plant pathology and genetics.

A few years after graduation, Borlaug had invented a disease resistant strain of wheat with high yields. His strain of wheat was introduced to developing nations such as Mexico, Pakistan and India where it really improved the food security.

Since the population of Indian subcontinent was growing far more than their resources could keep up with, it had been predicted that a large portion of their population would have died by 1980. However thanks to the efforts of Borlaug food security was improved and over a billion lives were saved. 

Besides the Nobel peace prize, Borlaug was also awarded the second highest civilian award of the Republic of India called the Padma Vibhushan, the Presidential Medal of freedom, the National Medal of Science, and the Congressional Gold Medal. 

Norman Borlaug was worried that he was being awarded the peace prize for lack of an agricultural prize that could have been awarded to him. This concern made him go back to the secretariat of the Nobel Prize where he suggested that a prize be created for agriculture where he was turned down.

His journey to look for a sponsor for the agricultural prize led him to James Ferguson CEO and chairman of General Foods Corp. James Ferguson like the idea and agreed to sponsor the prize. For the first four years the World Food Prize was sponsored by General Foods Corp after which other sponsors joined in.

The World Food Prize gives its laureates $250000 and the ceremony is held on or near the World Food Day, October 16. There is a hall of laureates at the Central Library in Des Moines which was built for ten years at a cost of $30 million. Maybe this is why Des Moines, IA, has become a financial services hub.

Nothing can hold back the world food prize now as many sponsors are getting on board and seeing the vision that Norman Borlaug, John Ruan and James Ferguson had in starting the prize. Find out more about Paramount Kitchen & Bath.

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2155 SE 37th St., Ste. C+D

Grimes, IA 50111

Phone: 515-986-3100

Fax: 515-986-5274

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