World Food Day has given millions of people around the world a chance to gather and express their commitment to ending world hunger since its creation in 1979. Twenty-one years later, in 2000, world leaders made the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger the top priority of their Millennium Development Goals. Forty countries have already achieved the first target of halving the proportion of citizens in their country who suffer from hunger. However, hunger still kills more people every year than malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS combined.
This time of year also marks the annual presentation of the World Food Prize, an honor that was conceived by the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dr. Norman E. Borlaug. This award has honored outstanding individuals who have made vital contributions to improving the quality, quantity, or availability of food throughout the world since 1986. Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram was recognized as this year’s recipient, for his scientific research that lead to a prodigious increase in world wheat production, by more than 200 million tons.
Having a safe and sustainable food supply is a top priority worldwide. The recognition given to those who push modern agricultural practices further, such as Dr. Rajaram, and the unifying voice of World Food Day, help make that priority an attainable goal. Crop protection products also assist in reaching this goal by enabling farmers to obtain the highest quality and quantity yields possible. They are a critical part of ensuring that modern agriculture continues to feed a hungry world on limited farmland. Even in countries like the U.S., 14 percent of whom do not have enough to eat, must face this challenge. Now more than ever, crop protection products are a necessary part of ensuring farmers’ ability to produce higher crop yields on limited acreage, so that we can achieve the goal of ending world hunger.