World Food Prize

Laura Elizabeth Pohl

West African leaders attending the World Food Prize symposium in Des Moines discussed steps to prevent a food crisis in Ebola-affected countries, Wednesday.

President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development Kanayo Nwanze said 40 percent of farms in affected areas have been abandoned, thus dramatically harming food production.

"I think the regional trade is going to be very, very serious," Nwanze said.  "Like any other situation...where you have a crisis you should begin to plan for the aftermath."

Sarah Boden / Iowa Public Radio

Merry Fredrick was awarded the second annual Robert D. Ray Iowa SHARES Humanitarian Award, Tuesday in Des Moines at the Iowa Hunger Summit.

Fredrick is the former executive director of Self-Help International.  The Waverly-based organization helps farmers in Ghana and Nicaragua grow high protein maize.

"I'm very humbled by the award," said Fredrick, who hopes the award will heighten Self-Help International's profile so that it may grow and eventually end hunger. 

Self-Help International also provides micro-credit loans to women for starting small-scale businesses.

Wikimedia Commons

Government officials in Iran are sending one of their top food scientists to the World Food Prize Symposium in Des Moines next week. 

The partial government shutdown the country just came out of is often compared to the face-off nearly 20 years ago between President Bill Clinton and House Speaker Newt Gingrich. This News Buzz edition of River to River looks at the aftermath of the latest clash, compares it to what happened in the 90’s, and examines how Iowa and national politics have changed since then.  

We also hear about the World Food Prize ceremony this week and the protests associated with it.  And, a unit with the Iowa National Guard had a homecoming this week. Plus, Willie the pig has been captured.

Clay Masters / IPR

  The World Food Prize is commonly referred to as the Nobel Prize of Agriculture. This year it went to three biotechnology pioneers and infuriated environmental groups. The award winners were honored Thursday in Des Moines. Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports.

John Pemble / IPR

The 2013 World Food Prize is honoring Marc Van Montagu, Mary-Dell Chilton, and Robert T. Fraley, three scientists whose individual discoveries led to the creation of genetically modified crops. 

World Food Prize Foundation

Capitalism – Does it work for you? That’s the question on a 20-ft-long sign with flashing lights that’s come to Cedar Rapids. Viewers vote by pressing true or false.  Steve Lambert, the artist behind the project Steve Lambert explains his inspiration and  share some of the responses he gathered.

Also, we’ll talk about the three biotechnology scientists awarded the 2013 World Food Prize.

Daniel Hillel headshot
Daniel Hillel / Headshot photo

On today's River to River the 2012 World Food Prize laureate, Daniel Hillel, talks about his role bringing advanced irrigation techniques to crops in arid and dry regions in the Middle East. Hillel has impacted farming lands in more than 30 countries with his technique of “micro-irrigation” that keeps the soil continuously moist without overusing the water supply.

The 2012 World Food Prize Laureate is Daniel Hillel. Hillel is a pioneer in water irrigation systems, and his work transformed farming in dry desert areas in the Middle East through a trickle irrigation method. We’ll talk with Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, President of the World Food Prize Foundation, to find out more about Hillel and the award that is increasingly called, the “Nobel Prize of Food.”  And, we’ll listen back to past interviews with the 2009 and 2010 Laureates.

He is one of Iowa’s most famous native sons. Norman Borlaug is credited with averting widespread famine by introducing revolutionary agricultural techniques to farmers around the world. He was a distinguished professor at Texas A&M when he died at the age of 95. Historic audio comes from You Tube, Texas A&M and Iowa Public Radio News.