The 2019 World Food Prize was awarded to Simon N. Groot of the Netherlands for his transformative role in empowering millions of smallholder farmers to earn greater incomes through enhanced vegetable production, benefitting hundreds of millions of consumers with greater access to nutritious vegetables for healthy diets. As founder and leader of East-West Seed, his initiative over the past four decades has developed a dynamic, smallholder-centric tropical vegetable seed industry, starting in Southeast Asia and spreading through Asia, Africa and Latin America.
“Like Dr. Norman Borlaug before him, Simon N. Groot has dedicated his life to improving the livelihoods of millions around the world,” said Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn. “As the use of his seeds spread throughout the Philippines and to Thailand, Indonesia and across Southeast Asia, farmers’ daily lives were uplifted and consumers benefited from greater access to nutritious vegetables. Mr. Groot, in effect, developed a stunningly impactful global network of seed producers who are transforming the lives of 20 million farmers in over 60 countries every year.”
The World Food Prize was founded by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Iowan Norman Borlaug. After winning the Nobel Prize in 1970 for his achievements in agricultural research, Borlaug envisioned a separate international award to recognize those who have made significant contributions to advancements in the quality, quantity and availability of food in the world.
Iowa Public Television provided live coverage of The World Food Prize Laureate Award Ceremony at the Iowa Capitol on Thursday, October 17 at 7 p.m. The ceremony was broadcast on statewide Iowa Public Television. The broadcast will repeat Sunday, October 20 at 1 p.m. Programming support for the 2019 World Food Prize is provided by the W.T. and Edna M. Dahl Trust.