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DES MOINES — A nutrition expert who pioneered innovative ways of raising fish rich in micronutrients and fatty acids and incorporating them into diets in developing countries was named the recipient of the World Food Prize on Tuesday.
Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted, 71, who grew up on Caribbean island of Trinidad and later became a citizen of Denmark, was awarded the prize in recognition of her achievements in pioneering fish-based food systems to improve nutrition, health and livelihoods for millions around the world.
“Dr. Thilsted figured out how these nutrient-rich small fish can be raised locally and inexpensively,” said U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in remarks recorded and delivered at the announcement ceremony.
“Now, millions of low-income families across many countries, including Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Nepal, Burma, Zambia, Malawi, are eating small fish regularly, dried and fresh, in everything from chutneys to porridge, giving kids and breastfeeding mothers key nutrients that will protect children for a lifetime. That is all thanks to her.”
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack and United Nations Nutrition Chairwoman Naoko Yamamoto also delivered remarks. World Food Prize Foundation President Barbara Stinson announced Thilsted as the winner.
The Des Moines-based World Food Prize was created by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Norman Borlaug in 1986 to recognize scientists and others who have improved the quality and availability of food.
The foundation awards a $250,000 prize.