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U.N. SG Ban Says Hunger Fight Needs Political Will, Innovation At World Food Prize Ceremony

“Innovative approaches and technologies as well as a strong political will from countries are essential to combat hunger,” according to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who spoke Thursday night in Des Moines, Iowa, at an event to recognize the winner of the World Food Prize, the U.N. News Centre reports. This year’s winner, Israeli scientist Daniel Hillel, developed “a new mode of bringing water to crops i­­n arid and dry regions, known as ‘micro-irrigation,'” the news service notes. An end to hunger “calls for harnessing the creativity of scientists and economists,” Ban said, adding, “It requires developing new approaches and technologies to respond to climate change, water scarcity and desertification,” according to the news service (10/18). “There is enough food to feed seven billion people, but because of climatic conditions, because of supply, market price volatility, there are still 870 million people who are going to bed hungry every night,” Ban said, the Des Moines Register notes.

“Several speakers at this week’s World Food Prize events warned that food prices will fluctuate but rise overall in the next two decades,” with one factor being “increasing meat consumption in nations like China, India and Brazil,” the Des Moines Register writes. “Some speakers blamed part of the problem on mandates to use biofuels in the U.S. and elsewhere,” the newspaper notes, adding, “But Ban stepped lightly when asked about biofuels.” Ban said, “I know there is some sensitivity about this biofuel issue. It’s up to the government what portion of cereal they should use to produce biofuels,” according to the newspaper. The Global Harvest Initiative, a group of private sector companies, “released a report during the World Food Prize events calling for increased private and public investment to boost agricultural productivity and alleviate global hunger” and asking “developing nations to boost spending on agriculture research and development, which remains a tiny portion of their gross national products,” the Des Moines Register notes (Hicks/Piller, 10/18).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.