Washington, DC - Four distinguished international scientists - Maria Andrade, senior sweet potato breeder in Cape Verde; Howarth Bouis, founder and director of HarvestPlus from Washington, D.C.; Jan Low, sweet potato science leader from Denver, Colorado; and Robert Mwanga, sweet potato breeder in Uganda - were named winners of the 2016 World Food Prize today at a ceremony at the U.S. Department of State.

United States Agency for International Development Administrator Gayle E. Smith delivered the keynote address at the ceremony, which honored the winners for collaborating to successfully implement a plant breeding approach to increase vitamins and minerals in staple crops, especially the orange-fleshed sweet potato. Their integrated application of biofortification, extension training, nutrition education, and marketing reduced malnutrition and improved the health of 10 million rural poor in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs Kurt Tong hosted the ceremony and Special Representative for Global Food Security Nancy Stetson delivered greetings from U.S. Secretary of State Kerry. World Food Prize Foundation President and former U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia Kenneth M. Quinn announced the names of the winners.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the $250,000 World Food Prize, which recognizes individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity, or availability of food in the world. This is the 13th year the State Department has hosted the prize’s laureate announcement.

The World Food Prize was established in 1986 by Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Norman E. Borlaug with the aim of focusing the world’s attention on the ongoing hunger crisis and on those whose work has significantly helped efforts to end it. Each year, more than 4,000 institutions and organizations around the world are invited to nominate candidates for the prize. The World Food Prize is guided by a distinguished Council of Advisors that includes former Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush. More information, including biographies of the laureates, is available at www.worldfoodprize.org .

The award will be formally presented during the World Food Prize Laureate Award Ceremony on October 13 at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines, Iowa.