World Food Prize Foundation honors Annan in Ghana
The World Food Prize Foundation
presented its Norman E. Borlaug Medallion to Kofi Annan today, during the
first-ever African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in his home country of Ghana.
The Medallion recognizes world leaders whose actions have benefited mankind but
who would not normally be eligible for the World Food Prize.
The award is in recognition of Annan’s international leadership as Secretary-General of the United Nations and as chairman of the board for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa. In both roles, Annan has brought significant attention to the issue of global food security, most notably in establishing the UN Millennium Development Goals during his time at the United Nations.
“Over the past decade, no one has done more than Kofi Annan to bring attention to the critical issue of global food security around the world nor in fulfilling Norman Borlaug's dream of bringing the Green Revolution to Africa," said Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, president of the World Food Prize Foundation. The World Food Prize Foundation was founded by the late Dr. Norman Borlaug, a Nobel Peace Prize Winner who has been called the “father of the Green Revolution” for his breakthroughs in wheat production that helped save over a billion lives, and who had a passion for ending hunger in Africa.
“It is a great honor to receive this award in my home country Ghana. We are making great strides in putting farmers and agriculture at the center of our development,” said Annan, who received a standing ovation from over 600 people in the audience. “Public and private partners are working closely together to transform Africa’s agriculture to benefit smallholder farmers and increase food security and nutrition in Ghana and across the continent.”
“We have left farmers to sink or swim without help for far too long,” Annan said. “After decades of neglect, agriculture has returned to the development agenda. Now it is time to bring together the many players – from farmers to CEOs – to achieve rapid, large-scale results that will put an end to hunger and poverty.”
Kofi Annan served as UN Secretary-General from 1997 to 2006. As Secretary-General, he was instrumental in laying out the Millennium Development Goals, a strategy to meet the needs of the world's poorest by 2015. One of the eight identified goals is to "eradicate extreme poverty and hunger." One of the specific targets the UN hopes to meet is to "halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger." In 2001, Kofi Annan and the United Nations received the Nobel Peace Prize for these and other efforts.
Annan is currently the chairman of the board of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). AGRA works to achieve a food secure and prosperous Africa through the promotion of rapid, sustainable agricultural growth based on smallholder farmers. Smallholders--the majority women--produce most of Africa's food. AGRA aims to ensure that smallholders have what they need to succeed: good seeds and healthy soils; access to markets, information, financing, storage and transport; and policies that provide them with comprehensive support. Through developing Africa's high-potential breadbasket areas, while also boosting farm productivity across more challenging environments, AGRA works to transform smallholder agriculture into a highly productive, efficient, sustainable and competitive system, and do so while protecting the environment.