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.

Groot, a sixth-generation seedsman, founded East-West Seed in 1982 in the Philippines with the idea that a good vegetable seed could change the lives of the poor. Having observed the many challenges facing poverty-stricken smallholder farmers in Southeast Asia, Groot set out to establish the first market-oriented vegetable seeds breeding company with smallholders as the main client base.

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