This morning, one billion people around the world woke up hungry and tonight, they will go to sleep hungry. This issue has not gotten the attention it deserves, and it is a personal priority of mine and of the Obama Administration to address the challenge of chronic hunger with a very high level of focus and dedication.
Hunger is not only a physical condition. It is a drain on economic development, a threat to global security, a barrier to health and education reform, and a trap for the millions of people worldwide who work from sun-up to sun-down every day to produce a harvest that often doesn't meet their needs.
Today at the World Food Prize ceremony at the State Department, I am honoring Dr. Gebisa Ejeta, who has transformed farming in many parts of the world and saved millions of lives by identifying varieties of a key African crop resistant to drought and specific types of weeds.
We have the resources to give every person in the world the tools they need to feed themselves and their children. So the question is not whether we can end hunger. It's whether we will.
The Obama Administration is committed to providing leadership in developing a new global approach to hunger. We will look to 7 guiding principles to support the creation of effective, sustainable farming systems in regions around the world where the current methods aren't working:
- We will seek to increase agricultural productivity, by expanding access to quality seeds, fertilizers, irrigation tools, and the credit to purchase them and training to use them.
Supporting sustainable agriculture won't be a side project of the Obama Administration. Attacking hunger at its roots will directly impact whether we meet our foreign policy goals and I invite each and every one of you to join this effort.