Simon N. Groot of the Netherlands will receive the 2019 World Food Prize for his transformative role in empowering millions of smallholder farmers in more than 60 countries to earn greater incomes through enhanced vegetable production, benefitting hundreds of millions of consumers with greater access to nutritious vegetables for healthy diets. As founder and leader of East-West Seed, his initiative over the past four decades has developed a dynamic, smallholder-centric tropical vegetable seed industry, starting in Southeast Asia and spreading through Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Over the last four decades, Groot has expanded East-West Seed across Asia, into Africa and now into Central America as well, all the while keeping smallholder farmers’ interests at the center of the business. The Access to Seeds Index ranks East-West Seed first among vegetable crop seed companies on its efforts to make quality seeds accessible to smallholders. In 2017, East-West Seed sold 24 million value packs for $1 each, which contain a small amount of high-quality seed that is perfect for smallholders to plant small plots with vegetables.
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