CIUDAD OBREGÓN, MEXICO — The World Food Prize Foundation late last month awarded its Dr. Norman E. Borlaug Medallion to the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). The Borlaug Medallion honors those organizations and heads of state who ordinarily would not be eligible for The World Food Prize, but who have made an especially noteworthy contribution to improving the world’s food supply and ensuring adequate nutrition.

The award, given for only the fifth time in history, was presented during a ceremony on March 27 at the Borlaug Summit on Wheat for Food Security in Ciudad Obregón. The event was part of a week-long celebration in honor of the 100th anniversary of Borlaug’s birth. Borlaug died in September 2009.

The Borlaug Medallion was presented by visiting representatives of The World Food Prize, including Sir Gordon Conway and Ronnie Coffman, who are members of the Council of Advisors; Laureates Per Pinstrup-Andersen and Robb Fraley; Lisa Fleming, director of global education programs; and Julie Borlaug, the granddaughter of Borlaug. The award was accepted by Marianne Bänziger, CIMMYT’s deputy director general for research and partnerships.

“As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the great agricultural scientist Norman Borlaug, it is most fitting that the World Food Prize Dr. Norman Borlaug Medallion be presented to CIMMYT, the research institution that grew from Norm’s own personal work in Mexico 60 years ago, which was the scientific impetus from which the Green Revolution emanated,” said Kenneth M. Quinn, president of The World Food Prize. “I know this great organization and its accomplishments will continue to serve as an inspiration to the next generation of agriculturalists and hunger fighters in the decades ahead.”

Headquartered in Mexico, the CIMMYT is a global leader in research for development in wheat and maize and wheat- and maize-based farming systems. CIMMYT works throughout the developing world with hundreds of partners to sustainably increase the productivity of maize and wheat systems to improve global food security and livelihoods. Improved, CIMMYT-derived wheat is grown on more than 60 million hectares in developing countries — over 70% of the spring wheat area planted with modern wheat varieties in those nations. These wheat varieties are responsible for bigger harvests that bring annual added benefits to farmers of at least $500 million, according to the WFP.

CIMMYT is a member of the CGIAR Consortium and leads the Consortium Research Program WHEAT and receives support from national governments, foundations, development banks and other public and private agencies.

In the past, the Borlaug Medallion has been presented to King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand; the Sasakawa Family and its Nippon Foundation of Japan; Kofi Annan for his leadership of the United Nations; and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities in the U.S.  The Borlaug Medallion was founded in 2006.