The World Food Prize was created in 1986 by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Norman Borlaug and General Foods. It has international standing and recognises a person who has advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.
It is funded by a philanthropist from Iowa in the USA, and is presented annually around the same time as October’s World Food Day.
The prize is US$250 000 and the winner is also called a Laureate. Winners have come from many countries and all have made significant contributions to humankind.
The 2012 World Food Prize winner is a world-renowned Israeli environmental scientist and hydrologist, Dr Daniel Hillel.
Israel is a country full of very dry areas and yet it is able to sustain itself through clever use of micro irrigation techniques. Dr Hillel has been instrumental in the development of these techniques.
His work has significantly improved the water efficiency in many very dry countries, including; Pakistan, Sudan, Iran, Egypt, Jordan, Cyprus, and Australia. This has vastly improved agricultural outputs of these countries. The Middle East, in particular, has benefited enormously from his work in food production and micro-irrigation.
He has also been heavily involved recently in the production and publishing of the Handbook of Climate Change and Agroecosystems. The first Volume has already been published. This is the result of his work on the effect of climate change on water shortage.
Dr Hillel has also been an advisor to both the World Bank and the United Nations.
For more information about the World Food Prize.