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Ebola, ISIS Taking Front Stage at World Food Prize

Ebola and ISIS -- the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria -- may seem worlds away from the corn and soybean fields of the Midwestern U.S. While the miles separating them are many, that's not to say those issues aren't critical to the sustenance of agriculture at home and around the world, officials say.

These issues and what they mean to the world's agriculture will take center stage soon when the 2014 Borlaug Dialogue lands in Des Moines, Iowa, next week. The three-day-long event that culminates with the awarding of the 2014 World Food Prize will feature remarks from world food and disease prevention leaders who will address how issues like the Middle Eastern tumult and Ebola's spread in Africa will affect the world's ability to sustainably feed itself.

"The president of Sierra Leone is scheduled to give a keynote address, and ministers of agriculture from Sierra Leone and Liberia are slated to participate in a key panel on agriculture in Africa. Kanayo Nwanze of the United Nations' International Fund for Agricultural Development will also open the symposium on Wednesday, highlighting the importance of continued investment in agriculture during times of crisis," according to a report from the World Food Prize. "In his keynote, Dr. Nwanze will highlight latest global crises, including Ebola, that are a wake-up call to leaders around the world: Problems in one part of the world will ultimately affect all of us, even when we live thousands of miles away. While it is imperative to deliver emergency relief to those in desperate need today, we must also look to the future if we want to prevent the war and health tragedies of today becoming catastrophes of poverty and hunger in the future. Dr. Nwanze -- a Nigerian national and head of the International Fund for Agriculture Development -- will outline how, with continued long-term support, we can shift from a crisis-to-crisis approach by putting in place measures that ensure our world's food security."

Continued upheaval in the Middle East -- most recently inflamed by ISIS activity along the Syria-Turkey border -- will also be addressed by speakers at the event by officials from, among other organizations, the U.S. State Department.

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