Winner of 2013 Norman Borlaug Award announced
The award is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, and administered by the World Food Prize. In 2011, during the 25th Anniversary World Food Prize Award Ceremony, Judith Rodin, Ph.D., president of the Rockefeller Foundation, announced a $1 million contribution to the World Food Prize to endow the new award in honor of Dr. Borlaug, who did his groundbreaking research on improving wheat crops while working for the Rockefeller Foundation, and went on to found the World Food Prize. This year’s announcement is especially momentous as we near the 100th anniversary of Dr. Borlaug’s birth in March 2014, and also celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Rockefeller Foundation.
Mutegi will be formally presented with the $10,000 award on World Food Day, Oct. 16, 2013, in Des Moines, Iowa, as part of this year’s World Food Prize international symposium.
Mutegi is originally from Kenya and has dedicated her time and efforts to improving food security there.
During her studies of the 2004-05 outbreak, through support by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Mutegi compiled the first-ever report in the country that provided a holistic outlook on possible avenues for contamination, and also proposed an integrated approach to managing aflatoxin contamination along the maize value chain, including regulatory and policy measures. As part of her work, she facilitated the training of more than 300 agricultural extension officers, who then worked with farmers, and over 70 maize traders and millers to increase awareness and management of deadly aflatoxin. She reached over 46,000 farmers in education campaigns about aflatoxin.
At the same time, she has engaged the government and sparked Parliament to establish a committee to investigate sources of contaminated grain, create heavy penalties for traders dealing contaminated grain, and investing in education efforts directed at Kenyan farmers who contribute to 75 percent of the country’s maize production. She has also documented the extent of aflatoxin contamination in peanuts, and proposed affordable means to prevent it.
Mutegi is currently leading the Kenyan collaborative project funded by USAID and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to develop the biological control approach as a long-term solution for managing aflatoxin.
Mutegi credits her success to her “supportive work environment, guidance from senior scientists, mentorship and my personal work ethics. I do share the United States Marine Corps’ perspective that ‘no one ever drowned in sweat,’” she said. “An extra effort towards a worthwhile course as to save the lives of numerous non-suspecting citizenry is indeed worth the effort.”