Agricultural leaders from around the world are in Iowa this week for the 2010 World Food Prize. Spokesperson Frank Swoboda says the events begin today with the Borlaug Dialogue, a conference which will focus this year on finding ways to reach the world’s smallest, poorest farmers.
Swoboda says the Borlaug Dialogue will feature more than 1,000 policymakers, researchers and other experts from 65 countries. The conference is named for Dr. Norman Borlaug, an Iowa native and Nobel Peace Prize winner who founded the World Food Prize in 1986. One of the keynote speakers will be former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, who now chairs the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa.
Swoboda says Annan will discuss a goal he set several years ago: to significantly reduce the number of people in poverty around the world by 2015. “And specifically looking at Africa because since stepping down at the United Nations, Annan’s been leading a number of efforts in Africa to enhance agricultural development on that continent,” Swoboda said.
The 2010 World Food Prize will be presented this year to David Beckmann of Bread for the World and Jo Luck of Heifer International. Swoboda says the award has typically gone to scientists or politicians. This is the first year that nongovernmental organizations or grassroots efforts have been recognized.
“As much as the technical innovations and breakthroughs and political achievements are necessary, what’s also very necessary to continue the fight against hunger is to get everybody involved,” Swoboda said. “Jo Luck and David Beckmann are being recognized for realizing that anybody and everybody can get involved in the fight against hunger.” Luck and Beckmann will receive their awards during a ceremony at the Iowa State Capitol Thursday evening.