Brazil’s Lula, Ghana’s Kufour win World Food Prize

WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – John Kufuor of Ghana and  Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil won the $250,000 World Food  Prize for cutting hunger in half while serving as president of  their nations, the prize organizers announced yesterday. It was the first time the award, created 25 years ago by  Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Bourlag, recognized the seminal  role of national leaders in fighting hunger. Some 925 million  people, roughly one-in-seven worldwide, are chronically  hungry.

“President Kufuor and President Lula da Silva have set a  powerful example for other political leaders in the world,”  said Kenneth Quinn, president of the World Food Prize. The  prize foundation said the proportion of hungry people in each  nation had been cut in half under Kufuor and Lula.

The prize will be awarded formally during a three-day  symposium in Iowa in mid-October. The 2011 winners were  announced during a ceremony at the State Department.

With his “Zero Hunger” program, Lula gave top priority to  combating hunger and poverty in Brazil, a rising economic power  of 203 million people, while president from 2003 to 2010. His  programs included cash aid to poor families, food purchases  from small-scale farmers and a school meals program.    Kufuor, president of Ghana from 2001-09, used public- and  private-sector initiatives to improve food security and reduce  poverty. They included a program to provide one meal a day to  schoolchildren and educating farmers on best farming practices.  Ghana, with 25 million citizens, was the first nation in  sub-Saharan Africa, to cut hunger in half.

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