News / USA

World Food Prize Laureate Heads Global Food Security Center

World Food Prize Laureate Heads Global Food Security Center

x
World Food Prize Laureate Heads Global Food Security Centeri
|| 0:00:00
X
July 10, 2012 9:05 PM
Purdue University scientist Gebisa Ejeta is known in agriculture for enhancing sorghum crops in Africa. The 2009 World Food Prize Laureate is on a quest to help the world better understand the causes of global food insecurity as the world population increases. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the campus of Purdue University in the Midwestern state of Indiana

World Food Prize Laureate Heads Global Food Security Center

Kane Farabaugh
WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana — Purdue University scientist Gebisa Ejeta is known in agriculture for enhancing sorghum crops in Africa.  The 2009 World Food Prize Laureate is on a quest to help the world better understand the causes of global food insecurity as the world population increases. 

Gebisa Ejeta’s air conditioned office at Purdue University is a world away from the one-room thatched hut with mud floors where he grew up in Ethiopia.

“There wasn’t any school in the community where I grew up, said the World Food Prize laureate. "And when my parents particularly my mother decided to send me to school, the only school was about 20 kilometers, about 12 miles from home.”

Even though his village - Wollonkomi - is not on most maps, it was a place that reinforced the importance of agriculture for Ejeta.

“Because that’s the primary way of life," he said.  "There isn’t any other alternative.  But agriculture is also important globally because it’s the most fundamental need of humanity.”

That fundamental need is increasing as the growing world population demands a more varied diet, something Ejeta learned after he left his village to study agriculture.  

He came to the U.S. where he earned a doctorate in plant studies at Purdue University, which he put to use in his first project in the field - developing a sorghum grain hybrid in sub-Saharan Africa.  

“That hybrid was highly productive and drought tolerant, and made a huge difference in the lives of people there,” said Ejeta.

The hybrid led to a crop that farmers could depend on, and earned Ejeta the World Food Prize, which aided his quest to change perceptions about food.

That quest led to the creation last year of Purdue University’s Global Food Security Center, which Ejeta heads.  The center helps universities and organizations around the world better understand agricultural production.  

“It’s an enormous challenge," said Gary Burniske, managing direct of the center.

Burniske says the biggest challenge is securing funding. “Over the past 20 years, there’s been a substantial decline in investment in agriculture and issues that relate to agricultural and livestock production.  And so what we have come to realize particularly with the 2006-2008 food crisis that we need to seriously address food security issues now in order to guarantee food security in 10, 20, or 30 years,” he said.

Ejeta says he hopes students who learn through programs coordinated by the center will fight against hunger.

“Resources of water, resources of land are getting to be more and more of a problem, so we want to develop education so that our students - the next generations of Americans - understand the complexities of global food security,” he said.

That security is threatened as fertilizer and fuel costs soar, and more people try to grow food on less land with restricted access to water.

You May Like

Photogallery Ukraine: Russian Forces Tightening Grip on East

And new United Nations report documents human rights abuses committed by both sides in conflict More

Locust Swarms Fill Antananarivo Skies

FAO-led control efforts halted plague More

South Africa’s Plan to Move Rhinos May Not Stop Poaching

Experts say international coordination needed to follow the money trail and bring down rhino horn kingpins More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid