The 2012 World Food Prize was awarded to Dr. Daniel Hillel for his accomplishments allowing farmers to grow crops in extremely dry regions. The technology he conceived and implemented in Israel is known as "micro-irrigation." His work not only revolutionized food production in the Middle East, but other regions around the world as well, maximizing efficient water use in agriculture.
Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton congratulated Hillel on his work during her keynote address at the award ceremony.
"Water has been a very big topic of concern here in the State Department," she says. "We have tried to focus our government’s attention and the world’s attention on the importance of getting ahead of what will be a devastating water crisis if we are not smarter and more purposeful in addressing the problems now. It’s especially fitting that we honor today someone who has made such contributions because he understood the critical role that water plays in agriculture and the importance of getting every last drop used efficiently."
Amb. Kenneth Quinn, president of the World Food Prize Foundation, announced Dr. Hillel as the award winner emphasizing the importance of his achievement.
"Confronting hunger can bring diverse people together across even the broadest political, ethnic, religious or diplomatic differences," Quinn says. "Dr. Hillel's work and motivation has been to bridge such divisions and to promote peace and understanding in the Middle East by advancing a breakthrough achievement addressing a problem that so many countries share in common: water scarcity."
The World Food Prize recognizes an individual who helps improve the availability of food throughout the world each year. Created by Norman Borlaug in the 1986, winners of the prestigious award include former presidents, lawmakers and scientists from around the world. Hillel reveled in the award but says it doesn’t mean his work is through.
"My joy and gratitude at being granted the World Food Prize this year is tempered by the realization that the work this award recognizes is far from complete," he says. "The task of improving the sustainable management of the Earth's finite and vulnerable soil, water, and energy resources for the benefit of humanity while sustaining the natural biotic community and its overall environmental integrity is an ongoing and increasingly urgent challenge for our generation and for future generations."
Hillel will receive a $250,000 prize formally given to him in October at the ceremony in Des Moines, Iowa.
Farmers Feeding the World would like to congratulate Dr. Hillel on this outstanding achievement and supports his work in bring sustainable technologies to the agricultural industry. These types of technologies will allow farmers to feed a planet that is quickly growing both in size and appetite.