DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Three men who helped turn Brazil’s arid tropical plains into a thriving agricultural region were announced Thursday as winners of the 2006 World Food Prize.

A. Colin McClung, Alysson Paolinelli and Edson Lobato will divide the $250,000 prize, which will be presented Oct. 19 at the state Capitol.

The three men worked generations apart to transform the Cerrado region, a nearly 300 million acre arid savanna that crosses central Brazil. With their help, it grew from 494,000 acres of arable land in 1955 to nearly 100 million acres of cultivated land by 2005.

“This increased agricultural production has helped improve economic and social conditions in Brazil, while their research continues to promote agricultural development and poverty alleviation in other tropical and subtropical countries throughout the world,” said Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, president of the Des Moines-based World Food Prize Foundation.

The prize was founded by Norman Borlaug, the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize winner, and recognizes people who help improve the availability and quality of food throughout the world. Borlaug developed a wheat variety that helped fight starvation in India and Pakistan in the 1960s.

McClung, 82, is an American known for making the soil of the Cerrado productive through the proper application of lime and fertilizers.

Paolinelli, 71, of Brazil, used government programs and funding to give momentum to McClung’s discovery and other agricultural advances, Quinn said.

As secretary of agriculture for the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais in the early 1970s and later in his role as Brazil’s minister of agriculture from 1974-79, Paolinelli developed infrastructure, policies and institutions to increase productivity in the Cerrado.

Lobato, 65, of Brazil, focused on how to use phosphate and lime to improve soil fertility in the Cerrado. He has authored more than 80 publications on soil fertility and soil management in the Cerrado.

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AP-ES-06-15-06 0847EDT

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