- This award aims to recognize the field research and its application, is sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation and granted by the World Food Prize.
- In 2013, with the inauguration of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center’s (CIMMYT) new facilities, the Carlos Slim Foundation reaffirmed its support for cutting-edge research.
Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application is the most important and prestigious international recognition granted to an agricultural researcher under the age of 40. The objective of the award is to recognize the scientific achievements of agricultural production and research of a young extension worker, research scientist, development professional or other individual who best emulates the dedication, perseverance and innovation demonstrated by Dr. Norman Borlaug while fighting against poverty and hunger globally.
This year the award was given to Dr. Bram Govaerts, Associate Director of the Global Conservation Agricultural Program at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and leader of the program Sustainable Modernization of Traditional Agriculture (MasAgro).
The award’s designation is the result of a selection from an impressive group of more than 40 candidates and was granted on 15 October 2014 at the Borlaug Dialogue international symposium in Des Moines, Iowa. This symposium brings together experts from around the world to discuss how to meet the challenge of sustainably feeding a world population of 9 billion people by 2050.
The award is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, and administered by the World Food Prize, which is often referred to as the “Nobel Prize” for agriculture.
The World Food Prize’s Council of Advisors includes important personalities, such as George Bush and Jimmy Carter, former Presidents of the United States of America; Joaquim Chissano, former President of Mozambique; Margaret Catley-Carlson, Chair at the World Economic Forum Advisory Council on Water; Zhangliang Dr. Chen, Vice Governor of Guangxi province in China; Dr. Ronnie Coffman, Director of International Programs at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences from Cornell University; Roberto Rodrigues, former Brazilian Minister of Agriculture; Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of The Nippon Foundation, among others.
An independent jury of experts chaired by Dr. Ronnie Coffman, Director of International Programs of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University selected Dr. Govaerts as the winner of the Norman Borlaug Award, particularly for his leadership and innovative thinking in MasAgro program and the positive results it has had in Mexico.
When Dr. Govaerts, who is originally from Belgium but has live and work in Mexico for eight years, received the news said: “We have to make agriculture attractive. The agriculture is sexy and improves people’s lives all days. I’m sure that if we work together, if we seize the enormous potential and took it to the producer, if we innovate with the producer; we will generate major changes and will overcome the challenge ahead. Let us be inspired to innovate, be inspired to intensify. Or, as Norman would say: Stretch yourself and reach for the stars. You’ll never reach one, but if you stretch yourself hard enough, you’ll get stardust on your hands.”
Dr. Norman Borlaug, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1970, was named by TIME magazine as one of the 100 most influential minds of the twentieth century, having spent a lifetime working to feed the world. The world celebrated the Dr. Norman Borlaug’s centenary of birth this 2014. The international symposium Borlaug Dialogue 2014 marks the end of a series of events of this celebration.
In February 2013, with the opening of the CIMMYT’s new facilities, the Carlos Slim Foundation reaffirmed its support for cutting-edge research. This biosciences complex allows researchers to speed up major seeds reproduction, thanks to a more precise characterization of their genetic traits. This seeds have tolerance to heat and drought, resistance to pests and diseases, sanity and the nutritional properties and industrial quality.
CIMMYT was the origin of the Green Revolution in the 60s and — with the alliance formed with the Carlos Slim Foundation – the organization substantially boosted agricultural productivity through cutting-edge infrastructure and increased research capacity. The complex is formed by highly specialized greenhouses for plant improvement and experiments with pathogens that can cause devastating losses in corn and wheat. An area of approximately 5,500 m2 of new laboratories are used for a number of innovative research projects including, for example, the Laboratory of Nutritional Quality of Maize intended for analysis of nutrients used in the processes of maize bio-fortification to improve human health.
On behalf of the Carlos Slim Foundation: Congratulations to Dr. Govaerts!