Opening Doors to Food Policy Change: Per Pinstrup-Andersen's World Food Prize Journey
When he accepted the World Food Prize in 2001, Danish economist Per Pinstrup-Andersen expressed his hope for new opportunities to end human suffering.
“I will use those opportunities to the best of my knowledge and the best of my ability,” he said.
Since then, he has been on a path to improving global food security through research, effective policymaking, and advocacy.
Pinstrup-Andersen left school at a young age to work as a farmhand. He later returned to education to study agricultural economics. From there, he dedicated his career to agricultural research, food policy, and uplifting impoverished people worldwide.
He later became the Director General of IFPRI, propelling the organization to the world’s leading think tank on hunger issues. The Vision 2020 Initiative, in particular, alerted leaders to future challenges at a time many believed biotechnology alone would be enough to feed the world.
He recognized the World Food Prize as the next step in his journey to supporting global food security.
“To me personally, the World Food Prize has helped open doors,” he reflected years later. He continued working toward what he and the World Food Prize Foundation stand for, “mainly, making sure that everybody has enough to eat, that everybody has a healthy diet, and that we don’t do damage to natural resources.”
After receiving the Prize, Pinstrup-Andersen joined the faculty of Cornell University and served as the H.E. Babcock Professor of Food, Nutrition and Public Policy from 2003-2013. Over his career, he has published over 400 articles on food and nutrition policy, agricultural economics, and innovation.
Pinstrup-Andersen has also advocated for increased food policy research and inspires future generations as a professor.
“The World Food Prize has been very, very effective – both in terms of the broader sense of bringing attention to the issues and then in the more narrow sense of helping me contribute whatever little bit I could,” he said.
His work, both before and after the World Food Prize, led to policy changes around the world that improved food production and access for impoverished individuals. He continues to champion effective policies that support the production of healthy food without damaging natural resources.
“The World Food Prize has been a tremendous inspiration for so many of us,” he said.
Nominations are now open for the 2024 World Food Prize Laureate. Nominate an inspiring food security hero today.