Top Indian scientist awarded 1st Sunhak Peace Prize

Top Indian scientist awarded 1st Sunhak Peace Prize

Noted Indian agriculture scientist Dr Modadugu Vijay Gupta, who has done pioneering work in aquaculture in India and several other countries, was today awarded the first Sunhak Peace Prize, billed as an alternative to the Nobel Peace Prize, which he shared with the President of Kiribati Islands.

Gupta, 76, shared the USD 1 million prize with President of Kiribati Islands Anote Tong here at a glittering function which was attended by invitees from all over the world.

Tong, 63, the head of the Pacific Ocean island nation which is facing dire prospects of being engulfed by rising sea waters by 2050, was chosen for the award for his dogged fight to end the carbon emissions which are spelling doom for small island nations.

The awards were presented by South Korean religious leader Dr Hak Ja Han Moon, the wife of late Rev Sun Myung Moon, who instituted the awards to recognise and highlight the work of individuals making big efforts for the betterment of the people.

Hailing from Bapatla in Andhra Pradesh, Gupta, a biologist, was also the recipient of the World Food Prize in 2005 for development and dissemination of low-cost techniques for freshwater fish farming.

Before his retirement, he served as the Assistant Director General at WorldFish, an international fisheries research institute under the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research based in Penang, Malaysia.

Starting his career as a scientist in Indian Council Agriculture Research over three decades ago in Kolkata, Gupta worked in Laos, Vietnam, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Thailand pursuing his belief that the aqua technology which can provide food security and improve livelyhoods of rural poor.

"I believed throughout my career that all the advanced fish farming technology which we created in laboratories should be taken to people, then only it can make a difference to their lives," he told PTI after receiving the award.

Regarded as a rebel within the ranks of the agricultural scientist community in India, Gupta mostly worked with the UN and agriculture related international organisations in different countries.

His work with rural communities in Bangladesh, a nation bestowed with lot of water resources, has made fish farming a major source of livelihood for millions of rural poor, according to the organisers.

As a scientist advocating sustainable alternatives, Gupta said aquaculture should be seen as a major source of food security.

"There can be no peace without food security in the world. You cannot talk peace to a hungry man," he said.

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