Washington, D.C.—During a ceremony at the U.S. State Department yesterday hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Ghanaian President John Kufuor, and former president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, were awarded the 2011 World Food Prize. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the prestigious award, which recognizes individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity, or availability of food in the world. Achievements by this year’s winners demonstrate that committed leadership combined with evidence-based policies can eliminate hunger and reduce poverty.
President Kufuor, who is a distinguished member of the IFPRI 2020 Advisory Council, participated in the IFPRI 2020 conference on Leveraging Agriculture for Improving Nutrition and Health in February. In Ghana’s Transformation, an essay recently published by IFPRI, Kufuor gives a first-person account of his years as president, describing some of his administration’s most successful projects, especially those related to agriculture.
“Food is the most basic of needs,” says President Kufuor, who is currently a Global Ambassador against Hunger for the United Nations World Food Programme. “It decides not just the health of individuals but also the health of communities.
Kufuor, who describes food security as the catalyst for improving an economy and instituting democracy, served as president of the Republic of Ghana from 2001–08. His administration helped to initiate or continue improvements in farming, nutrition, education, healthcare, and infrastructure, leading to significant positive changes in Ghana during the first decade of the new millennium. Today, Ghana is regarded as one of the most successful countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. It recently attained middle-income status and will likely achieve the first Millennium Development Goal of cutting poverty in half before the target year of 2015.
President Lula da Silva made reducing poverty and hunger a top priority when he assumed the presidency of Brazil in 2003. The country’s Zero Hunger network of programs represents one of the world’s leading efforts to decrease hunger and improve nutrition, providing greater access to food and education, increasing rural incomes, and empowering the poor. Under his leadership, Brazil cut hunger in half, exceeding the first Millennium Development Goal.
By honoring those who have worked successfully toward this goal, the World Food Prize calls attention to what has been done to improve global food security and what can be accomplished in the future. The Prize was founded by Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his work in world agriculture, whose research led to the Green Revolution in Asia and made huge strides in the fight against hunger.
President Kufuor and President Lula da Silva will be formally presented with the World Food Prize in a ceremony in Des Moines, Iowa on October 13, in conjunction with the Norman E. Borlaug International Symposium.