AMES, Iowa -- Monty Jones, who won the 2004 World Food Prize for his breakthrough development of a new rice variety bred specifically for Africa, will present the fifth annual Norman Borlaug Lecture at Iowa State University on Monday, Oct. 15.
The lecture, "Agricultural Research and Food Security in Africa," will be at 8 p.m. in the Memorial Union Sun Room. A reception and student poster competition on world food issues will be held at 7 p.m. in the Memorial Union South Ballroom. All events are free and open to the public.
Jones is the executive secretary of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa, based in Ghana, and the first African to win the World Food Prize. He began his career in 1975 with the West Africa Rice Development Agency where he developed NERICA, a "New Rice for Africa." He led his staff to organize and classify all available rice varieties, then they painstakingly bred the new variety. It combined traits from varieties with resistance to African pests and diseases with Asian varieties with higher yield varieties.
According to the World Food Prize, NERICA can increase farmers' harvests by 25 to 250 percent, and has been especially valuable in drier upland regions, where much of West Africa's rice is grown. In addition, its shorter harvest time allows farmers to double-crop with nutritionally rich legumes and vegetables or high-value fiber crops in one growing season. For the consumer, especially poor or malnourished families, NERICA provides increased amounts of protein at a lower price. The nutritional, economic, and political impact of NERICA on countries that have been importing $1 billion of rice annually is difficult to overstate.
Jones was born and educated in Sierra Leone. He earned a doctoral degree in plant biology in 1983 from Birmingham University in the United Kingdom.
The lecture series is named for Cresco, Iowa, native Norman Borlaug, the agronomist whose discoveries sparked the Green Revolution. He received the Nobel Peace Prize for his international work in wheat research and production, which has saved millions of lives. He is the founder of the World Food Prize, which annually recognizes the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. Iowa State University created this lecture series to be held annually in conjunction with World Food Prize events.
The annual Norman Borlaug Lecture is sponsored by the Nutritional Sciences Council, the Committee on Lectures (funded by the Government of the Student Body) and the Joseph and Elizabeth Berkhimer Fund. The poster competition is sponsored by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Human Sciences.