Strengthening Every Link in the Fight Against Global Hunger

June 16, 2010

About the Author: William E. Craft, Jr. serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Trade Policy and Programs in the Bureau of Economic, Energy and Business Affairs at the Department of State.

Today, I had the privilege of hosting the seventh annual World Food Prize Laureate announcement ceremony at the State Department in Washington, DC. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of Agriculture (USDA) Tom Vilsack, and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah delivered remarks. In attendance were Ambassadors and representatives of non-governmental organizations, private corporations, and research centers arriving from as far as Bulgaria, Bahrain, and Burundi.

The event began with Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, President of the World Food Prize Foundation, announcing two deserving World Food Prize winners this year: David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, and Jo Luck, president of Heifer International.

Both winners have proven to be leaders in the fight to end world hunger. They will formally be presented with the $250,000 award in a ceremony this October 13 and 15 at the Iowa State Capitol (The World Food Prize organization is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa).

In addition to announcing the award recipients, the event also marked a step forward in the Feed the Future Initiative, which recognizes the importance of food security implemented through a whole-of-government approach. In her speech, Secretary Clinton outlined the Feed the Future research strategy, which includes a new partnership between USAID and the USDA. She explained the mission of the Feed the Future Initiative, emphasizing its collaborative nature and saying, “We want to strengthen every link in the farming chain -- from improving the seeds that farmers plant in their fields to helping create thriving food markets to promoting nutrient-rich crops so people get the nourishment they need to thrive, especially mothers and children.”

In the second big announcement of the event, Secretary Clinton expanded upon a cornerstone of the Feed the Future strategy: investments in research and innovation. She noted, “In a few decades, the world's population will grow to nine billion people. If we are to feed all those people without leveling the forests, draining the aquifers, and depleting the soil of all its nutrients, we need science. There is simply no other way.”

The Secretary said that through Feed the Future, “We will support scientists working here in the United States, in international centers like the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research, and in local institutions in our partner countries. And we will fund projects along the entire research pipeline -- from advancing the frontiers of our knowledge and exploring cutting-edge ideas, to taking technologies that have already succeeded in the lab and testing them in the field.”

She also noted that population growth can be addressed through political cooperation. “We ask ourselves not whether we can end hunger but whether we will because it truly is a matter of political will and capacity,” she said.

USAID Administrator Shah built upon Secretary Clinton's theme of political will, saying that in creating the World Food Prize Foundation, Dr. Bourlaug was hoping to instill in people a desire for political advocacy and action. He said, “It really takes only one thing to end hunger and that is tremendous and consistent political will, and [Dr. Bourlaug] modeled that behavior throughout his career.”

USDA Secretary Vilsack wrapped up the event with a reference to the Biblical story of feeding the multitude with only two fish and five loaves of bread. He pointed out how sharing takes courage, but can lead to an abundance of resources.

“If there is an overriding theme to our discussion today, it's that all of the people we honor, dedicate, and remember have the power to remove the fear of sharing and in fact to inspire the need for sharing,” he said.

I was honored to take part in this event which sought to inspire, unite, and mobilize people from a spectrum of specialties in the collective effort to fight world hunger.

Related Entry: A Call to Feed the Future

Comments

Comments

Ole
|
New York, USA
June 17, 2010

Ole in New York writes:

I happen to think, sadly, that without strong 'muscle' backing up the humanitarian efforts, the latter cannot succeed. cases in point--North Korea, Darfur, now Kyrgyzstan. and regarding the latter, i think it's a mistake for US to wait for UN approval or Russian, Chinese, Uzbek or any other cooperation, to send in troops to restore basic order there. we should take charge and show leadership whenever we can, it's both morally incumbent upon us, and ultimately pragmatic, as hesitance and indecision may cost much dearer.
I urge Madame Secretary to seriously consider initiative to send a military contingent as part of peacekeeping force for Kyrgyzstan. this nation, while small and insignificant of itself, is vital in many ways, be it fight against Al-Qaeda and Taliban, Central Asian democracy and stability, or moral authority of the free world. If we don't do it, others--Russia,China-- will, which will spell decades more of strife in that region

Ole
|
New York, USA
June 17, 2010

Ole in New York writes:

i also would like to add this. I read in some article, that Russia is a better candidate to lead the effort in Kyrgyzstan, because it's more influential there, and better familiar with local people's mentalities. as for Russian influence, i believe that it's the reason for the crisis there, in the first place; but perhaps even more importantly, i think we should NOT delve into local mentalities, but rather come with clean and clear objective to establish peace and freedom, that is the way things SHOULD BE there, as opposed to the way things currently ARE. the 'traditional' ways, such as ethnic mistrust, islamist tendencies, clan/tribal structure of society are the reasons for the strife in Central Asia; if we want to eradicate the problems,we need to find way around the roots of those problems, rather than to 'respect' those roots. we need the same sort of mandate in Kyrgyzstan, possibly other Central Asian countries, as we had in Japan or Germany after WW2. let's not insult those people's intelligences, by denying them ability to build a functional democracy, and instead sticking to 'tradition'

Michael K.
|
Australia
June 17, 2010

Michael K. in Australia writes:

In Alaska, I was amused to know this place was once called "a hungry land".

Applying own creative experience accumulated will surely achieve a positive outcome worldwide.

around77
June 22, 2010

A. writes:

Tols you open mc donalds or waffle house everywhere with affordable price for low cost population! some eggs please

Patrick
|
Maryland, USA
June 17, 2010

Patrick in Maryland writes:

Hello,Secretary Hillary .C and DipNote Community.

I thought Hillary's remarks about spending more on Agricultural,live stock and Farming
research, was a good start in improving the
world's Hunger problems. I think collaboration between scientist in these fields,will also help the growing process of
our countries farming communitys.

Hopefully technology and sharing will provide a better future for Us all. Where their are less hungery people in the world .

It's great to hear that( Bread Of The World and Heifer Internation) are recieving this
Award. I hope this Award will help their orginization's flourish in the years ahead..:)

...C-ya Later..Hillary & DipNote Guys...:)

OysterCracker
|
United States
June 17, 2010

O.C. in U.S.A. writes:

Policies should address food hunger in the Hawaiian Islands. Though seeemingly lush, the lack of access to affordable food should be of great concern to our government especially in rural areas where soil is non existant and there is only one or two very expensive local grocery stores. Travel is unaffordable due to high gasoline prices. There should be a concerted effort to reach poor populations in these rural areas of Hawaii. It seems unfair that so many tourists enjoy the natural beauty of the islands but are unaware of the suffering and poverty many rural families face.

OysterCracker
|
United States
June 17, 2010

O.C. in U.S.A. writes:

There should be less emphasis on analysis and more emphasis on "Getting the Job Done". We can talk and talk until the cows come home but that does little to immediately affect and improve people's lives. There are many inexpensive, low tech solutions that should be implemented now. Decentralizing the supply chain to a more local model would take some pressure off the existing food supply grid. Preserving agricultural land and water zones from development and increasing markets would also help. Increasing partnerships and restrictions against non endemic,foreign, water sucking ornamentals would increase water supplies for agriculture. Increasing farming skills in rural areas and using available urban land for food production for the poor. Also, micro loans/subsidies for small scale, organic farmers. We need a low tech agricultural revolution that every American can partipate in.

OysterCracker
|
United States
June 17, 2010

O.C. in the U.S.A. writes:

Reducing beef consumption would save valuable land for agriculture and limit the destruction of the rain forest. Go Veg! should be the new mantra for healthy Americans. Beefers can go live in Texas.

Ole
|
New York, USA
June 17, 2010

Ole in New York writes:

@O.C.: with all respect, veg food simply doesn't feel you up; that's why people stick to meat :)and where do you plan to grow more vegetables, fruits etc., if not in newly developed lands, including currently occupied by forests?

Cletus
|
Rhode Island, USA
June 17, 2010

Cletus in Rhode Island writes:

OK Ole, what kind of food does feel you up? Whatever it is, I wants some.

OysterCracker
|
United States
June 17, 2010

O.C. in U.S.A. writes:

@ Ole,

I'd rip out all the water gorging ornamentals and plant crops on every street, sidewalk and vacant lot in America that way, American school kids will have something to eat on their walk to and from school.
They made a joke about your use of the word "Feel". I think you meant the word "fill" as in, "vegetables don't fill you up." It was funny though!

.

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