Friday marked the 29th observance of World Food Day, celebrated around the globe each year to bring attention to issues of hunger and food insecurity.
The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates there are 1.02 billion malnourished people in the world, meaning that almost one sixth of all humanity is suffering from hunger. FAO says 70 percent of the world’s hungry live and work on small-scale farms and in rural areas throughout the world. The U.N. has also estimated that 70 percent more food will be needed to feed a population of more than nine billion people by the year 2050.
The 2009 World Food Prize was awarded Thursday to Dr. Gebisa Ejeta, whose work with sorghum hybrids resistant to drought and the devastating Striga weed have enhanced the food supply of hundreds of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa.
Ejeta received his award as part of the World Food Symposium, a full week of events held in Des Moines, Iowa, to discuss food security issues. Much more about those sessions, including video of speeches from Bill Gates and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, is available at http://www.worldfoodprize.org/symposium/2009.htm