WASHINGTON, Wednesday June 19, 2013 - The Flemish plant scientist Marc Van Montagu (born 1933) is being awarded the "World Food Prize 2013", jointly with the American scientists Mary-Dell Chilton and Robert T. Fraley. This was announced in Washington DC on Wednesday by the US Secretary of State, John Kerry. The World Food Prize - the "Nobel Prize for food and agriculture" - gives the award annually to one or more people whose work has been of exceptional social importance for the quality, quantity or availability of food. This is the first time that a Belgian has won this prestigious award.
Marc Van Montagu and the Americans Mary-Dell Chilton and Robert T. Fraley are sharing the prize "for their individual, independent breakthroughs as founders of modern, green biotechnology and their contributions to its development and application", according to the chairman of the World Food Prize foundation, Kenneth M. Quinn. "Thanks to the research carried out by these scientists, famers today can grow crops that are resistant to insects and tolerant to herbicides. This GMO technology can however also ensure a greater variety of crops, combined with higher yields or built-in disease resistance," continues Mr. Quinn. "Moreover, this technology allows crops to be developed in short time frames that can also grow in unfavorable climatic conditions, such as extreme drought or heat, for instance."
The three winning names have just been announced. The prize of 250,000 US dollar will be shared between this year's three winners. It will be handed over to them at a grand award ceremony in Iowa, US, on October 17.
For Marc van Montagu, the prize means recognition for his contribution to contemporary agriculture and a step towards acceptance of GMO technology as one element in sustainable food production.
"The World Food Prize honors achievements that are extremely important for society, and I am therefore much honored to be able to receive this aw
|Contact: Kris Van der Beken|
VIB (the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology)