On Oct. 17, the World Food Prize will be awarded to Simon Groot. The 2019 World Food Prize honors the unique achievements of Simon Groot and his company East-West Seed (EWS) over the past four decades.
Groot has successfully developed a dynamic, smallholder-centric tropical vegetable seed industry, starting in Southeast Asia and spreading throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America. His work has invigorated both rural and urban markets for vegetable crops, making nutritious vegetables more widely available and affordable for millions of families each year.
When Mr. Groot started East-West Seed, commercial vegetable breeding was all but unknown in the tropics, and many farmers were having a hard time growing a good crop with the low-quality, poorly adapted seeds they often saved from season to season. Low-quality seeds resulted in low yields, which translated into poverty and malnutrition for farmers and their families. Groot sympathized with the farmers’ plight and saw a way to break the vicious cycle of poverty and help farmers prosper through diversification into high-value vegetable crops.
Working closely with local and international NGOs, Mr. Groot also created East-West Seed’s innovative Knowledge Transfer program, which trains tens of thousands of farmers each year in agricultural best practices for vegetable production.
Mr. Groot will receive the World Food Prize on October 17, 2019 at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines.
Source: European Seed