WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - A Purdue University Professor has received the World Food Prize,an honor that is considered by many to be the Nobel Prize ofagriculture.
Professor Gebisa Ejeta won the prize for his research, which ledto increased availability of sorghum in Africa. Sorghum isone of the world's top cereal grains. Ejeta said he's honoredto receive the award.
"I'm overjoyed, I'm running out of adjectives when I talk todifferent people. It's a huge honor," said Ejeta.
Professor Ejeta's research led to the development of sorghumvarieties that can stand up to drought and parasitic weeds, whichare two of the most harmful environmental stresses on thegrain. Ejeta said sorghum is the major food source for nearly500 million people in Africa.
"It is a major staple in many places, just like soybean and cornare important around here. Sorghum in many places isimportant economically and also as a way of life and for people tolive on as their food," said Ejeta.
Ejeta was born in Ethiopia, and said he knows what it's like tobe hungry.
"Because I come from developing country where most of the peopleare poor and my family is poor, so the importance of agriculture isan experience I went through. Hunger is an experience I wentthrough," said Ejeta.
Ejeta's sorghum varieties can be found in several countriesacross Africa, but he hopes they will spread even further.
"Anything that we can do to jumpstart the development process somore and more could benefit from it will continue to be mymission," said Ejeta.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced Ejeta as thewinner this afternoon in Washington D.C. Ejeta will receive$250,000 at an award ceremony on October 15th in Des Moines,Iowa.
This is the second time in three years that a Purdue Professorhas won the world food prize. Philip Nelson won in2007.
It's been nearly a month since a tornado damaged Southwestern Middle School and Mintonye Elementary School, giving faculty the task of helping students transition to their new surroundings.
Donations are being accepted to help around 300 seniors receive a holiday gift.
Donations are needed for Food Finders Food Bank to aim at matching a grant that would match funds up to $20,000.