November 19, 2009 - Gurdev Khush: Rice for a hungry world
|Laureate Spotlight: Dr. Gurdev Khush
November 19, 2009 - - Dr. Gurdev Khush, recipient of the 1996 World Food Prize, can take credit for developing the most widely planted food crop ever grown.
Recently, the famed rice breeder added two new awards to his long list of honors.
Dr. Khush was presented the The Mahathir Science Award by the Academy of Sciences of Malaysia on September 28 for his outstanding contributions to tropical agriculture. The award was conferred to Dr. Khush in recognition of his perseverance, leadership, commitment, and revolutionary work in systematically pioneering and developing rice varieties that have overwhelmingly contributed toward the alleviation of world hunger.
Last month, Dr. Khush was one of nine recipients of a 2009 Award of Distinction from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CA&ES) at the University of California, Davis. The award is presented annually to those whose contributions and achievements enrich the image and reputation of UC Davis and enhance its ability to provide public service. Dr. Khush was honored among "Outstanding Alumni" and is also an adjunct professor at the university.
Dr. Khush was the chief plant breeder at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines from 1967 until 2002. He led the development of more than 300 rice varieties that helped create the green revolution in South Asia. A native of India, Khush earned his doctoral degree in genetics at UC Davis in 1960. IRRI’s improved rice varieties pushed world rice production from 257 million tons in 1966 to 640 million tons by 2008. One of these varieties, IR36, is the most widely planted food crop ever grown.
In addition to the World Food Prize, Khush has also earned the Borlaug Award (1977), the Japan Prize (1987), and the Wolf Prize in Agriculture (2000). He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society (London), and is a fellow of numerous professional societies.