I would like to warmly welcome: Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah, Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, President of the World Food Prize Foundation; Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, Chairman of the World Food Prize Selection Committee, and Mr. and Mrs. John Ruan III of the World Food Prize Foundation.
I would also like to extend a special welcome to the members of Congress, ambassadors and other representatives from the diplomatic corps, as well as colleagues from other agencies, NGOs, industry, and academia who have joined us here today. Thank you.
And, finally, I’d like to recognize Mr. John Ruan the III—the Iowa businessman and philanthropist who is sponsoring the World Food Prize—and the organizers of the Prize for their efforts to highlight the important contribution agriculture plays in economic development.
This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the World Food Prize, which celebrates the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.
In preparations for the awards ceremony, I was reminded of the visionary work of Norman Borlaug, the founder of the World Food Prize, and the impact of innovation in addressing global hunger.
Borlaug’s development of dwarf wheat and collaboration in India with our guest Dr. M.S. Swaminathan sparked a “Green Revolution” that spread throughout Asia and South America.
Today, we need another Green Revolution, one that includes Africa and extends all the way from the farm to the table.
We need policies and programs, such as the U.S government’s Feed to Future Initiative, as well as new innovative technologies and processes that range from disease resistant crop varieties, to improved irrigation and access to water, to more efficient post-harvest distribution networks that include cold chain storage.
For example, in India, it is estimated that over 40 percent of the nation’s farm output rots before it gets to the market. We can do better.
Which is why I am delighted to be here today, to recognize individuals who are--to put is simply--working to do better.
Now, I would like to introduce Kenneth Quinn, President of the World Food Prize.
Ambassador Quinn retired from the Department of State in 2000, and then embarked on a second career to help address the problems of hunger and poverty.
Ambassador Quinn will be followed by USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah.