Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hillary Clinton addresses world hunger, announces Gebisa Ejeta 2009 World Food Prize Winner

Today, the Secretary addressed the topic of world hunger as she delivered the keynote address at 2009 World Food Prize Announcement Ceremony in the Benjamin Franklin Room at the State Department.

"The issue of chronic hunger and food security is at the top of the agenda that we’re pursuing here in the State Department and in the Obama Administration.

This morning, one billion people around the world woke up hungry. Tonight, they will go to sleep hungry.

Today, in a village in Niger, a woman will walk for miles in search of water to irrigate crops that are parched by drought. Today, in Haiti, a farmer’s surplus fruit will go to waste because he has no way to store it or to bring it to market. Today, in Congo, a family will flee a conflict that has left their farms and fields fallow.

And today, in a schoolhouse in Bangladesh, children will struggle to learn because their bodies are struggling to survive on insufficient nutrition."

She named Ethiopian scientist the winner of the 2009 World Food Prize. Gebisa Ejeta, a faculty member at Purdue University in Indiana, was honored for his work on drought and weed-resistant varieties of sorghum.

Ejeta is only the second African to win the Food Prize since its creation in 1986 by Nobel Peace Laureate Norman Borlaug, the American agronomist credited with starting a so-called "Green Revolution" with high-yield wheat varieties.

The Ethiopian geneticist and seed-breeder, who joined the Purdue University faculty in 1984, is being honored for his work in developing strains of sorghum that are resistant to drought and the parasitic weed Striga, which has been a plague to farmers throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

Ejeta was not present at the State Department event. But he will receive the award on October 15 in a ceremony by the World Food Prize Foundation in Des Moines, Iowa.

The president of the foundation, former U.S. ambassador to Cambodia Kenneth Quinn, said Ejeta's work with sorghum has benefited millions of people in Africa and beyond.

Secretary Clinton stressed the Obama administration's commitment to attack world hunger, which affects an estimated one billion people.

She noted that in addition to developing new sorghum strains, Ejeta worked in India and Sudan on ways to get his improved seeds into the hands of farmers, underscoring the need for a comprehensive approach to repairing what Clinton called a broken global supply chain for food.

"The Obama administration is committed to providing leadership in developing a new global approach to hunger... For too long, our primary response has been to send emergency aid when the crisis is at its worst. This saves lives, but doesn't address hunger's root causes. It is at best a short-term fix. So we will support the creation of effective, sustainable farming systems in regions around the world where current methods are not working."

Read her full remarks here or watch below:

1 comment:

Jackie said...

Best S.O.S. ever, hands down.

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