I am in Des Moines, Iowa, surrounded by rock stars of the food security world. No, it's not Willie Nelson on a Farm Aid tour, but it may well be the next best thing. I am here for the awarding of the 2010 World Food Prize. This award was begun in 1986 by Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his achievements in the Green Revolution, as a way to honor those who make ground-breaking contributions to improving the world's food supply. In addition to honoring this year's winners of the World Food Prize, experts from around the world have gathered for the Borlaug Dialogues to address cutting-edge issues in food security and nutrition.
The theme for this year's events is a famous phrase of Dr. Borlaug's and his final words: “Take it to the farmer,” with a focus on small-holder farming and rural livelihoods. The conference will highlight how small-holder farmers in the developing world will have a critical role to play in increasing productivity. There are still close to one billion people around the world who suffer each and every day from chronic undernourishment, and the majority of these people, mainly women and children, live in or near areas of small-holder farming.
The objectives of the Borlaug Dialogues are in complete accord with the wide variety of programs on which the State Department is working, and not just on food security in and of itself. The list is as diverse as the problem is vast: increasing innovation, developing and nurturing local entrepreneurship, stewardship of soil and water resources, protecting biodiversity, the need for dietary diversity, and new ways to solve nutritional deficiencies with traditional foodstuffs, and ways to reduce the staggering post-harvest losses in poor regions.
Under Secretary Clinton's leadership, the State Department has focused attention on food security and the availability of and access to food populations in danger around the world. The challenges of the Millennium Development Goals to reduce world hunger by half by 2015 are being addressed through a variety of insightful programs.
For example, my Bureau of Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs is supporting Secretary Clinton's vision through the Feed the Future initiative. Feed the Future is an initiative that focuses all of our innovation and technical resources on food production, preservation, and distribution. These resources include not only today's best agricultural and bioscience technology, but also all of the tools available to us, including the use of cell phones to broadcast weather information or health clinic notices to farmers and families in remote regions.
We are also realizing the Secretary's vision through the Global Entrepreneurship Program (GEP), which cultivates the culture of entrepreneurship in traditional economies to increase growth and economic advancement, as well as to spread the benefits of innovation faster in every sector of the economy. The GEP coordinates public and private partners to support budding entrepreneurs through training and advocacy.
We continue to look for ways in which government, NGOs, and the private sector can work with their counterparts in target countries to find new solutions to the entrenched problem of global hunger. Send me your ideas -- I'd love to hear from you about ways to support these innovative partnerships.
Assistant Secretary Fernandez's related entries: Expanding Our Toolkit in the Fight Against Global Hunger and Behind the Scenes: “1,000 Days: Change a Life, Change the Future”