The Golden Cassava Prize

The Golden Cassava Prize was created in 2008 for the 1rst GCP21 International Cassava Conference in Ghent. The concept is for the cassava community to recognize the merit and work of one or two individuals who have been exceptionally actives on cassava R&D.

The prize is give every 3 years at the opportunity of the organization of the GCP21 Cassava International Conference.

The selection process is done, after nomination of any member of GCP21, by the members of the Scientific Committee of the conference shortly before each conference.

The Golden Cassava Prize 2008

  In 2008, the Golden Cassava Prize was awarded to Dr Gary Toenniessen, Director of the Rice Biotech program of the Rockefeller Foundation from 1988 to 2010, for his great contribution to cassava R&D initiating a number of grants about cassava viruses, cassava genetic transformation, cassava genetic markers, cassava breeding and more. This investment sparked biotech research on cassava in several places in the world.
Golden Plaque to honor Dr. Gary Toenniessen with
the Golden Cassava Prize in 2008

Dr. Gary Toenniessen was also made a Cassava Chief by Chief Owenii, from Nigeria.

The Golden Cassava Prize 2012

The second Cassava Golden Prize was awarded in 2012 to the British virologist Mike Thresh. Mike worked 5 decades in Africa, although he worked mostly from UK. He was very instrumental to work on the epidemiology of cassava virus diseases, in collaboration with many African scientists from various countries in Africa. Towards the end of his career he dedicated most of his time and energy to the outbreak of cassava mosaic disease in Uganda in the 90s and the outbreak of cassava brown streak disease in East Africa between 2000 and 2012.

Dr Mike Thresh, receiving in 2012, the Golden Cassava Prize and gifts from the hands of the Minister of Agriculture from Uganda and the congratulations of the GCP21 founders, Dr. Joe Thome and Dr. Claude Fauquet.

The Golden Cassava Prize 2016

The third Golden Prize award was awarded in 2016 to Dr. Chareinsuk Rojanaridpiched from Thailand (Kasetsar University) and Dr. Rienhardt Howeler from USA (CIAT). Dr. R. Chareinsuk is a cassava breeder who worked all his career on cassava improvement and he is the “father” of the variety KU50, released in 1993, which is grown on more than 1 million Has in South East Asia. Dr. Howeler was an agronomist at CIAT based in Thailand most of his career and he trained thousands of farmers to improve their agronomic practices. It is believed that the joint benefit of KU50 and better agronomic practices are responsible for most of the cassava revolution in South East Asia, improving the life of millions of small farmers.

The winners of the Golden Cassava Prize in 2016 surrounded by the founders of GCP21. From left to right; Dr J. Tohme (GCP21), Dr. R. Howeler; Dr. Chareinsuk; and Dr. C. Fauquet (GCP21).