WARDA Hails Dr Monty Jones,
the 2004 World Food Prize
is a very prestigious achievement! By winning the World Food Prize this year,
Dr Monty Jones, the Father of the
(New Rice for Africa), has made us very proud,” exclaimed Dr Kanayo F.
Nwanze, Director General, The Africa Rice Center (WARDA).
Dr Jones’ groundbreaking work on the NERICAs – today the symbol of hope
for millions of poor in Africa – was carried out at WARDA in the mid-90s.
NERICA is the fruit of a remarkable technological breakthrough that helped
combine the best features of Asian and African rice varieties. It is perfectly
suited to African rice farmers and consumers.
Thanking WARDA, Dr Jones stated, “Indeed, this is a very prestigious award
that comes as a pleasant surprise. However, it would not have come without the
support and guidance of WARDA management, colleagues and friends.”
Dr Jones, Executive Secretary of the
for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), is the first African to
receive the World Food Prize (known informally as the “Nobel Prize for Food
and Agriculture”). He shares this year’s prize with Professor Yuan
Longping from China, whose work was instrumental in achieving the world’s
first high-yielding hybrid rice varieties.
“It is particularly befitting that this year’s World Food Prize has been
awarded for achievements in rice research, since 2004 has been declared by the
UN as the
Year of Rice (IYR). Large-scale IYR celebrations have been planned by
WARDA in association with FAO, FARA and national governments in sub-Saharan
Africa,” Dr Nwanze stated.
Convinced that NERICA has tremendous potential to reduce poverty and increase
food security in sub-Saharan Africa, many donors and international NGOs are
collaborating with African governments to help disseminate NERICA across the
“The NERICA success would not have been possible without sustained funding
for rice research from members of the Consultative Group on International
Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and the support of African countries,” Dr
WARDA is an autonomous intergovernmental research association of African
member states. It is also one of the 15 international agricultural research
Centers supported by the CGIAR.
Mr Ian Johnson, Chairman and Dr Francisco Reifschneider, Director of the CGIAR
attended the formal announcement ceremony of the
World Food Prize Laureates on 29 March 2004.
Congratulating Dr Jones and WARDA, they said they were very happy to see that
the work of WARDA was “properly recognized”, which signifies “a great
promise for a better tomorrow.”
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