Monsanto scientist, two others win World Food Prize

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The World Food Prize Foundation named three distinguished scientists as winners of the 2013 World Food Prize Wednesday – Marc Van Montagu of Belgium, Mary-Dell Chilton and Robert T. Fraley of the United States. The winners were announced during a ceremony at the State Department where Secretary of State John Kerry delivered the keynote address. The winners will share a $250,000 prize.

The World Food Prize was started in 1987 by Norman E. Borlaug, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for bringing about the Green Revolution. The award is presented to those who improve the “quality, quantity or availability” of food in the world.

Announcing the names of the 2013 Laureates, Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, President of the World Food Prize, said, “These three scientists are being recognized for their independent, individual breakthrough achievements in founding, developing and applying modern agricultural technology.”

The selection of Fraley, Monsanto’s executive vice president and chief technology officer, is sure to add to the controversy surrounding the use of biotechnology in crop production.

“I’m sure there will be some controversy about it,” Quinn told The New York Times in an interview before the winners were announced. But he also said crop biotechnology had “met the test of demonstrating it would impact millions of people and enhance their lives.”

This year marks the first time in its 27-year history that the prize has recognized the work of biotechnology pioneers. Van Montagu, Chilton and Fraley each conducted molecular research on how a plant bacterium could be adapted as a tool to insert genes from another organism into plant cells. The result is GMO crops, which now account for about 90 percent of the corn, soybeans and cotton grown in the U.S.

“Hunger is a trap that prevents people from realizing their God-given potential,” Secretary Kerry said in his address. “Food drives life. And the struggle for food is a struggle for life. This makes hunger an economic issue, a national security issue – and without a doubt a moral issue. Through innovation, we can help alleviate hunger and malnutrition today – but more than that, we can help fulfill our responsibility to tomorrow.”

Marc Van Montagu, who is Founder and Chairman of the Institute of Plant Biotechnology Outreach at Ghent University in Belgium; Mary-Dell Chilton, who is Founder and Distinguished Fellow of Syngenta Biotechnology; and Robert T. Fraley, the Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Monsanto, will be formally awarded the World Food Prize at the 27th Annual Laureate Award Ceremony at the Iowa State Capitol on October 17, in conjunction with the Borlaug Dialogue international symposium in Des Moines, Iowa, focused this year on “The Next Borlaug Century: Biotechnology, Sustainability and Climate Volatility.”

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in a drought  |  June, 20, 2013 at 10:05 AM

So there are the folks we can thank for all the untold, longterm, irreversible damage inflicted on humanity. I hope they enjoy playing God in this life. Judgement comes in the next life.

Craig A. Moore    
Billings, MT  |  June, 21, 2013 at 08:18 AM

How about backing up your spouting with scientific facts, and no emotional beliefs accepted.

Iowa  |  June, 20, 2013 at 01:07 PM

It's easy to be critical of technology when you have a full stomach. When I was an Army advisor in Vietnam in 1971 we got "miracle rice" seed from the Philippines that increased yields by half over local rice. Local rice was still preferred but they now had options. Apparently the new rice did not do untold irreversable damage to the country or its neighbors that adopted the rice. Vietnam went from a rice importer to an exporter.

kansas  |  June, 20, 2013 at 01:38 PM

Hero of the Left, Kerry, shows the love and praise regarding honor, begun by a Nobel Peace Prize winner, for a company villified by whining, pampered, well-fed 1st World luddites. Pathetically ignorant science-deniers screech and moan, while millions & millions & millions of poor, 3rd world children starve to death. But O.K., time for them to Occupy John Kerry, Occupy Nobel Peace Prize Winners... Occupy Darfur! (get to it Jim, in a drought, and send us all a post card)

June, 21, 2013 at 09:23 AM

Simply a PR stunt to boost the reputation of Bio-technology, which is rapidly falling across the globe. Industrial Agriculture is an unsustainable model based on cheap Petroleum - something that will not be around forever. Bio-technology's mission is to contiue to prop up this unsustainable model by genetically modifying crops to cover up for the failures of the Industrial food production system, and even these band-aids are failing with the increase in pest and weed resistance to these modified traits. The food produced in the industrial system is inferior in quality to that which is produced in sustainable agricultural methods - something being proved in victory gardens all across America. The Food Revolution will not be Industrialized.

TX  |  June, 21, 2013 at 11:35 AM

nothing surprises me after they gave Obama the Nobel Peace Prize he's not the only one with a KILL list evidentially

TX  |  June, 21, 2013 at 11:40 AM

Ha ha ha...tell that to all the Indian farmers families who committed suicide because of GM cotton How idiotic to think that a crop that is resistant to round up and has pesticides bred into it can be healthful. GM crops will kill biodiversity. From what I've been reading that's why so many people are developing allergies.

manhattan, ks.  |  June, 21, 2013 at 07:17 PM

Rhonar-Its a surprise you read because you dont understand the GM cotton situation at all. It was actually a problem before GM cotton was introduced but that wouldnt suit your anti-gmo agenda. Suicides were attributed more to crop failures, high amounts of debt, no social support, and low cotton prices. Also no one forces any farmer to plant GMO crops, they choose to. Please get an education, its ok to have a different opinion but its not ok to be ignorant.

June, 21, 2013 at 07:49 PM

this guys should be sued for destroing plants nature genetics and negative effect on humanity.


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