The first Niigata International Food Award honors 2004 World Food Prize Laureates Dr. Monty Jones and Dr. Yuan Longping.
This prize, founded in March 2009 in memory of Niigata native Sano Touzaburo, seeks to "honor those whose achievements greatly contribute to the peace and wellbeing of the world by improving the supply and quality of food."
The Niigata Award Board of Directors chose to honor Dr. Jones with its Main Prize in recognition of his breakthrough achievement in developing a dry field African and Asian hybrid rice that "has improved the productivity of farmers across Africa and raised the food security level of fragile, small family farms."
2004 World Food Prize Laureate Dr. Yuan Longping will also be honored by the Niigata Award, receiving the Sano Touzaburo Special Prize in recognition of his achievements in "increasing food supply/harvest in developing countries."
Professor Fumihiro Fujimori of Tokyo Kasei University will receive the third Niigata Award, the "21st Century Hope Prize," for his development of a large-scale database of the fungal genetic code.
The Niigata Awards will be presented during a ceremony on October 29, 2010, as part of the Niigata International Food Award's first international conference on food (October 29-31). This year's theme, "Food & Life," will focus on the "countless people residing across the globe who find their health and even their lives in peril because they are unable to secure enough food for themselves."