Scientists Win Prize for High-Yield Rice
By Associated Press
March 29, 2004, 12:05 PM EST
WASHINGTON -- Scientists from China and Sierra Leone were named co-winners
Monday of the annual $250,000 World Food Prize for their work in producing
The winners were Professor Yuan Longping, director general of the China
National Hybrid Rice Research and Development Center in Hunan Province,
and Dr. Monty Jones, executive secretary of the Forum for Agricultural
Research in Africa in Accra, Ghana.
World Food Prize President Kenneth Quinn praised both scientists for their
"breakthrough scientific achievements, which have significantly increased
food security for millions of people from Asia to Africa."
Yuan and Jones were being honored at a State Department ceremony hosted by
Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Yuan is credited with developing the world's first successful and widely
grown hybrid rice varieties, revolutionizing rice cultivation in China and
tripling production over a generation.
Jones' work recaptured the genetic potential of ancient African rices by
combining African and Asian rice species, "dramatically increasing yields
and offering great hope to millions of poor farmers," according to the
U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization Director-General Jacques Diouf said
it was fitting that rice experts are being awarded the food prize in 2004,
the same year dedicated by the United Nations as the International Year of
"Rice is life," Diouf said, noting that the staple provides 20 percent of
the world's dietary energy supply.
The prize was created in 1986 by Dr. Norman Borlaug, who won the Nobel
Peace Prize in 1970 for his work in developing new technologies for
feeding the hungry. The award recognizes people who help improve the
quality or availability of food throughout the world.