Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan says far too many people around the world are going hungry. Annan was in Iowa today delivering the keynote address at the World Food Prize symposium in Des Moines. He congratulated this year’s prize winners, Jo Luck with Heifer International and David Beckmann with Bread for the World.

“Your work and commitment reminds us all that life’s greatest calling is to serve others and particularly to help them enjoy their basic human rights. This includes of course the right not to go hungry,” Annan said.

 Annan now chairs an organization called the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, which aims to boost food production in his native country. Several years ago, he set a goal to significantly reduce the number of people in poverty around the world by 2015.

“It is so distressing that one billion of our fellow human beings will today go without sufficient food,” Annan said. “There remain too many countries where people go hungry and many more where the threat of food shortages is all too real.”

 Annan says Africa is the only continent which does not grow enough food to feed itself. But, he said the situation is beginning to improve and the World Bank recently agreed to provide $160 million to expand the initiative.

The World Food Prize award ceremony, recognizing Jo Luck and David Beckmann, will take place tonight at the Iowa State Capitol.