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"The effects of chronic hunger cannot be overstated," said Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. "Hunger is not only a physical condition, it is a drain on economic development, a threat to global security, a barrier to health and education, and a trap for the millions of people worldwide who work from sunup to sundown every single day but can barely produce enough food to sustain their lives and the lives of their families."
Among those in the forefront of the fight against world hunger is an Ethiopian scientist, Dr. Gebisa Ejeta. On June 11th, Secretary of State Clinton announced that Dr. Ejeta will be awarded the World Food Prize for 2009. Since 1986, the World Food Prize Foundation has honored outstanding individuals with this award, recognizing those who have made vital contributions to improving the world's food supply.
This year's recipient was recognized for developing sorghum hybrids resistant to drought and the devastating Striga weed, for his work in creating thriving local markets, and his efforts to train farmers in new techniques of agriculture.
"Dr Ejeta began his journey in a hut in Ethiopia, where he was born to a mother who was passionately committed to his education," said Secretary Clinton. "Now, he reminds us that a system of agriculture that nourishes all humankind requires more than a single breakthrough or advances in a single field. It requires a sustained and comprehensive approach," she said.
The United States, said Secretary Clinton, is committed to providing leadership in developing a new global approach to hunger. The U.S., she said, has identified seven principles that support sustainable systems of agriculture in rural areas worldwide.
The U.S. will seek to increase agricultural productivity; work to stimulate the private sector by improving the storage and processing of foods and improving rural roads and transportation; support efforts to maintain natural resources so that land can be farmed by future generations and adapt to climate change; expand knowledge and training by supporting research and development; seek to increase trade; support policy reform and good governance; and support women and families.
For the United States, said Secretary Clinton, "sustainable agriculture won't be a side project. It is a central element of our foreign policy."