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Modadugu Vijay Gupta

SUNHAK PEACE PRIZE

Modadugu Vijay Gupta

Modadugu Vijay Gupta

Modadugu Vijay Gupta

Born August 17, 1939
Country India
Awarded for Dr. M. V. Gupta pioneered the blue revolution and has invested his entire life to developing aquaculture as an alternative solution to the future food crisis.
Co-laureate
As a fisheries scientist, Dr. Modadugu Vijay Gupta of India’s involvement in research spanning a period of 5 decades in a number of countries in Asia, Africa and the Pacific, resulted in significant increase in fish production and laid foundation for the Blue Revolution.  As a food resource able to provide relatively low-cost, high quality animal protein, aquaculture has emerged as a possible solution to address the looming food crisis and nutrition insecurity as a result of population increase and climate change.
Dr. Gupta spent his entire life developing environment friendly aquaculture methods/technologies using agriculture wastes and by-products along with innovative implementation practices that benefitted small-scale farmers and addressed issues of poverty, nutritional deficiency, and self-resilience in South and Southeast Asia, and enthusiastically organized and educated the poor in his methods of aquaculture.  Moreover, he actively taught aquaculture to women with low social statuses, leading to major improvements in women’s rights and their empowerment.  Ignoring threats to his own life and devoting himself to research in war-torn conflict areas, Dr. Gupta’s efforts to develop low-cost methods of aquaculture has created a possible solution that can overcome the food crises as a result of anticipated population explosion and impact of climate change.

Educational Background

  • 2007 Ph.D. in Biology, University of Calcutta, India
  • 2007 Honorary doctorate degree, Central Institute of Fisheries Education, India
  • 2008 Honorary doctorate degree, G.B. Pant University, India

Professional Background

  • 1962 ~ 1971 Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Assistant Research Officer
  • 1971 ~ 1977 Scientist, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)
  • 1977 ~ 1981 Economic and Social Commission for Asia-Pacific (UN-ESCAP), Fish Breeding Expert, Mekong Secretariat (Lao PDR)
  • 1981 ~ 1985 Economic and Social Commission for Asia-Pacific (UN-ESCAP)Senior Aquaculture Scientist, Mekong Secretariat, Thailand
  • 1985 ~ 1986 Senior Fish Farm Management Scientist and Project Leader, Mekong Secretariat, Lao PDR
  • 1986 ~ 1989 UN-FAO Fish Culture Specialist/Officer-In -Charge (Bangladesh)
  • 1989 ~ 1996 Senior Aquaculture Specialist/Officer-In-Charge, WorldFish Center(CGIAR) in Bangladesh, Malaysia, Philippines
  • 1989 ~ 2008 Implemented/coordinated projects and programs in over 20 countries in Asia, Africa and the Pacific
  • 1996 ~ 2000 Director, International Relations, Worldfish Center (CGIAR) Research Coordinator, International Network for Genetics in Aquaculture (INGA), initiating aquaculture genetics research projects in Bangladesh, China, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Malawi, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, etc. that resulted in a number of improved strains of fish.
  • 2000 ~ 2004 Director General, International Relations and Partnerships, Worldfish
  • 2005 ~ Present Dr. Gupta’ advisory services were taken advantage by a number of international organisations such as: The World Bank; The Asian Development Bank; United Nations Development Program (UNDP); Commonwealth Secretariat, Food and Agriculture Organisation of UN (FAO); Mekong River Commission; Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA); London;United States Agency for nternational Development (USAID); Agriculture Research Center of Netherlands; etc., for their programs in different countries of Asia and Africa.

Major Awards

  • 1978 outstanding team research in developing low-input, high output aquaculture methods <Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)>
  • 2005 World Food Prize <World Food Foundation>
  • 2007 Gold Medal <Asian Fisheries Society>
  • 2009 Honorary Life Member Award <World Aquaculture Society>
  • 2010 Eminent Agriculture Scientist Award <Government of Andhra Pradesh, India>
  • 2015 Nutra India Summit Life Achievement Award <Nutra India Summit>
Addressed the expected future food crisis due to climate change, and led the Blue Revolution
Through field research and development of aquaculture methods/technologies suitable for the climate and environment of South and Southeast Asia, Dr. Gupta caused an explosive increase in production known to us now as the Blue Revolution.  Having the insight that aquaculture, being able to provide relatively low-cost animal protein, would be the key to solving humanity’s future food crisis, since the 1960’s Dr. Gupta researched and developed compatible fish species that could both thrive in a hot and humid climate and a low-lying environment with seasonal floods.  Especially from the latter part of the 1980’s, he correctly identified fish species such as "tilapia" and "silver barb," which could thrive even in the turbid and shallow waters of Bangladesh and reach market size in five months.

As a result, Bangladesh annual fish production in 1986 which was only about 170,000 tons when the research started, soared to about 850,000 tons when Dr. Gupta retired in 2004.  Since 2000, going beyond Asia, Dr. Gupta has striven to develop the right methods of aquaculture that may thrive in Africa, the frontline of world hunger.
Miraculously brought independence and self-sufficiency to the extreme-poor through the spread of innovative aquaculture methods
Dr. Gupta is a saint of the South and Southeast Asian poor, who rather than give fish to the poor and hungry, taught them how to farm fish, cultivating a miracle of independence and self-sufficiency. In order to address the hunger and nutrition deficiency problem of the extreme poor in South and Southeast Asia, Dr. Gupta developed low-cost, highly-efficient methods of aquaculture, and devoted himself to passing down his methods while living with the poor in their environment.  As a result, those living in a vicious cycle of extreme poverty and hunger, not just greatly improved their nutritional status, but further instilled in them the hope for a better life.

In the 1970’s, India as a whole was focused on developing high-end aquaculture requiring expert methods and high costs such as shrimp farming benefiting the better-off farmers.  However, during this period Dr. Gupta’s attention was on researching aquaculture methods that were low-cost and highly efficient and could be easily managed by the extreme poor and marginal farmers, developing such methods as "fish polyculture," the culturing of a diversified mix of fish species in one pond, and "integrated aquaculture-agriculture," called the eco-friendly method combining aquaculture and agriculture.
Furthermore, Dr. Gupta built partnerships with the local communities and worked tirelessly to teach his methods to the poor. Starting with small groups of 5~10 landless poor farmers in each group, he helped them to become motivated and taught them aquaculture skills.  He worked to create a basis for their economic independence through fish farming in leased ponds with minimum financial support for the start-up costs for fish farming.
Significantly improved the social status and rights of Asian women
Dr. Gupta actively spread aquaculture methods to South and Southeast Asian women with a low social status, resulting in not only increased household incomes and nutrition, but also drastically improved the social status and rights of women.  Aware of the fact that some women in poor households in South and Southeast Asian countries have no income because they do not participate in economic activities, Dr. Gupta prepared opportunities for women to participate in economic activities.  He personally convinced some of the religious leaders who were negative towards women’s participation in society to allow them to participate more, and motivated women to be self-sufficient and educated poor women farmers on the basic skills required for aquaculture.
In addition, he cooperated with local organizations so that women could receive the funding and land necessary for their economic activities.  These initiatives were such a great success that now women form considerable work force in fish farming, and this has brought positive changes that has improved women’s rights and status both within the household and in the Society.

Awarding of Medal and Plaque to Dr. Gupta

  • Founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon awards Indian fisheries scientist Dr. Gupta with the medal.

    ⓒ 2015. Sunhak Peace Prize

  • Committee Chairman Dr. Il Sik Hong awards Indian fisheries scientist Dr. Gupta with the plaque.

    ⓒ 2015. Sunhak Peace Prize

A commemorative photo shoot following the awarding of the medal and plaque (from left to right : Founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, laureate Indian fisheries scientist Dr. Gupta, Committee Chairman Dr. Il Sik Hong)

ⓒ 2015. Sunhak Peace Prize

Video of the awarding

Acceptance Speech

Indian fisheries scientist Dr. Modadugu V. Gupta giving his Acceptance Speech during the Inaugural Sunhak Peace Prize Award Ceremony. ⓒ 2015. Sunhak Peace Prize

Video of Acceptance Speech

Acceptance Speech

Madam Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, founder of the Sunhak Peace Prize, Dr. Il Sik Hong, Chair of the Sunhak Peace Prize Committee, Excellencies, honorable delegates, media representatives, ladies and gentlemen, a very good morning.

I feel it an honour and privilege to be selected for the first Sunhak Peace Prize. I am glad that the Sunhak Peace Prize Committee recognises the importance of food security, environmental integrity and overall socioeconomic development as essential pre-requisites for a peaceful society. This becomes much more important in the present day context of increasing global population leading to more demand for food from declining natural resources and looming impact of global warming threatening the fragile ecosystem and lives and livelihood of large number of people if appropriate actions are not taken. I thank Madam Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon for her vision in establishing this award and reminding the global community the need to act fast for a food secure and peaceful world.

I owe gratitude to a great number of people – the farming community, NGOs, scientists, planners and administrators in different countries where I worked without whose assistance and cooperation it would not have been possible for me to do what I have done. I would be failing in my responsibilities as a husband and father if I do not acknowledge the sacrifices my wife and children have made over the years to enable me to continue my work while living and working in remote areas of least developed and war torn countries in spite of threats to our lives.

The world has made tremendous progress technologically in the last few decades, whether it is in industrial revolution, information technology, rocket technology, space science or agriculture. However, we failed to provide sufficient food to people in this world, because of which we see so much hunger and poverty around the world which is leading to civil strife and food riots. One in three people globally suffer from hidden hunger or micronutrient deficiencies, especially women and children. We have been talking of eliminating hunger and poverty for quite some time, but we have a long way to go to reach our goal. In spite of increased production of food, hunger has remained as a persistent problem for too many of the world’s poor. Rampant hunger and poverty is leading to deterioration in democratic institutions and increase in incidence of demonstrations, riots and civil conflicts. Personally I have witnessed what hunger means while working in war ravaged countries. Even in middle income countries despite being more affluent, are still home to majority of world’s hungry people. We cannot expect peace and tranquillity in a world that continues to suffer from hunger and poverty. If appropriate action is not taken, prolonged hunger and undernutrition can have developmental and economic damage for a number of years to come.

For eliminating hunger and malnutrition, we need a new approach of inclusive and sustainable growth that provides livelihood to all and preserves the environment for future generations, leading to a peaceful world. Over 500 million small farms manage most of the world’s agriculture land including fish farming and produce most of the world’s food. We cannot imagine a situation without them. We need to ensure survival of these farms not just for their livelihood and survival, but also for global food security and alleviation of poverty, under-nourishment and malnutrition. I strongly believe that small farms and farmers in developing countries are the backbone of food security and hence my work over the years has been in this direction, developing low-input, low-cost technologies that could be adopted and sustained by small aquaculture farmers, especially women leading to their empowerment.

This award gives me the added energy to pursue my lifetime goals of contributing for a peaceful society through alleviation of hunger and poverty.

I pay homage to Reverend Dr. Sun Myung Moon for the ideals he stood for and his vision of one global peaceful family. Let us all work together to bring his ideals to reality.

Thank you all.

Statement upon laureate announcement

“My lifetime goal of contributing for a peaceful society through alleviation of hunger and poverty”



I feel it an honour and privilege to be selected for the first Sunhak Peace Prize.

Peace whether it be at family level or national level cannot be achieved on a hungry stomach. I am glad that the Sunhak Peace Prize Committee recognizes the importance of food security, environmental integrity and overall socioeconomic development as essential pre-requisites for a peaceful society and acknowledges individuals that have contributed to this goal. This becomes much more important in the present day context of increasing global population leading to more demand for food from declining natural resources, looming impact of global warming threatening the fragile ecosystem if appropriate actions are not taken.

This award gives me added energy to pursue my lifetime goal of contributing for a peaceful society through alleviation of hunger and poverty. I am grateful to all those in different parts of the world who helped me in my work.

June 8, 2015
Modadugu Vijay Gupta
Planning Sunhak Peace Prize Secretariat
Edition New national edition, 320 pages (English / Korean version)
Issue February 1, 2016
Category Political and Social
ISBN 978-89-92289-78-8(03800)
Price 15,000 won

Table of Contents

  • -English version
  • -Korean version
  • Preface. Dr. Gupta, the pioneer of the Blue Revolution
  • Prologue. Food Peace
  • - Dr. Gupta’s accomplishments for food peace
  • - Watching fishermen at sea
  • - Beginning Aquaculture research
  • - Bringing the Blue Revolution to Laos
  • - Welcoming bigger challenges in Bangladesh
  • - Achieving success with humility
  • - Developing environmentally friendly integrated aquaculture technology
  • - Creating a foundation for self-sustainability
  • - Changing the lives of oppressed women
  • - Farmer-oriented, field-oriented
  • - Winning the World Food Prize
  • - Winning the World Food Prize Accepting the Sunhak Peace Prize Acceptance Speech
  • - Sunhak Peace Prize 2015
  • - World Summit 2015 Lecture Speech
  • Appendix.
  • World Food Prize 2005 Acceptance Speech

From the Book

“Even as most people hesitated, Dr. Gupta saw things differently. He thought that the reality of India cannot be changed by only conducting research in the laboratory. As his father had always said, technology and knowledge only have meaning when they are used for the betterment of humanity.”
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“Because the Lao farmers were uneducated, time was needed for them to accept the new technology. First of all, Dr. Gupta befriended the farmers while living with them in the farm. He tried to understand the farmers while building family-like relationships. He thought that they could understand him only when he understood the farmers. Then, Dr. Gupta taught aquaculture technology to the farmers in their language on their level. This attitude was very helpful in the successful settlement of the aquaculture technology in the farms.”
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“After researching how to spread aquaculture in Bangladesh, Dr. Gupta developed technologies fit for small scale farmers that let them harvest 1.5 to 2.5 tons of fish per hectare within a span of 3~5 months. These amazing results were enough for farmers to take notice.”
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“As women started generating considerable amounts of income, their husbands started to think twice before raising their fists at them. Violence decreased and women’s rights improved. These women were more delighted that they could send their children to school.”
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“Dr. Gupta argues that theaquaculture technology should be developed to be more simple and easy for small-scale regional farmers to understand and apply. Dr. Gupta does not compromise on this principle not for his honor, but for the farmers who need the aquaculture technology.”

Publisher’s Review

Food is the most important resource for mankind to survive.
"This speaks to the passion of Dr. Modadugu Vijay Gupta who devoted his entire life to food security"
At this very moment, when everyone seems to have good lives, there are about 800 million hungry people spread across the world. This is because the production volume is insufficient compared to the increase in food demand. The food crisis is getting worse and securing food resources have emerged as the most important issue for the future of humanity. This is especially serious in developing countries where food is not self-sufficient.

With this in mind, Dr. Gupta educated and communicated fish farming techniques to people suffering from chronic poverty in such countries as India, Laos, and Bangladesh, and thereby helping poor people consume quality animal protein at low cost, and further apply these techniques for their own economic activities.

He was awarded the inaugural Sunhak Peace Prize, in recognition of his efforts not only to address the food crisis with warm love for humanity and a devoted spirit of service, thereby providing food security for million, but also proposing a revolutionary way to save the poor. This book was published to understand the activities of Dr. ModaduguVijay Gupta and to convey his warm love for the world.

Introductory Video

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The People Creating Future Peace
Food Crisis Theme – The Indian fisheries scientist who found a solution to overcome the food crisis through aquaculture, Dr. Modadugu V. Gupta
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Meanwhile, people around the world are in agony from the food crisis due to drought. Climate change is becoming an environmental disaster shortening the life of the Earth.

The inaugural Sunhak Peace Prize laureate announcement was held at the National Press Club in Washington D.C.
The first laureates, Kiribati President H.E. Anote Tong and Indian fisheries scientist Dr. Modadugu V. Gupta…

How did they contribute to world peace?
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