Four scientists have won the 2016 World Food Prize. The scientists are from the global agricultural research group the International Potato Center. They won the prize for enriching sweet potatoes. This has resulted in health benefits for millions of people across the world. The scientists developed a way to grow sweet potatoes that have extra amounts of Vitamin A in them. More Vitamin A means the sweet potato contains extra nutrition. One researcher said it was difficult to get farmers to help him with his work. Many farmers did not think it was a good idea. The researcher said: "They told me it was a bad idea. Their job was to increase yields, pest resistance and reduce poverty; it wasn't to improve nutrition."
The sweet potato could change the lives of many people across the globe. People without food can die of malnutrition – not having enough to eat. A lack of Vitamin A is one of the most harmful examples of malnutrition. Scientists say malnutrition affects more than 140 million children up to the age of four in 118 countries. It also affects more than seven million pregnant women. Scientists also say it is a big reason for children becoming blind in developing countries. Jan Low, from the International Potato Center, said the prize-winning sweet potatoes could make a big difference in making sure hungry people get enough Vitamin A. She hopes more scientists will focus on increasing nutrition in vegetables.