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Secretary Clinton Delivers Keynote Address at 2012 World Food Prize Laureate Announcement Ceremony

On June 12, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered the keynote address at the 2012 World Food Prize Laureate Announcement Ceremony at the U.S. Department of State.

The World Food Prize is the foremost international award recognizing the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity, or availabilityof food in the world. Dr. Daniel Hillel, a renowned soil expert, was named 2012 World Food Prize Laureate in recognition of his 40 years of work in Israel and around the world developing microirrigation methods for arid regions, opening those regions to farming. His contributions to irrigation have had dramatic results in both plant production and water conservation.

In her remarks, Secretary Clinton commended Hillel’s achievements, noting that his water management techniques have enabled farmers to grow high-yield and nutritious crops in some of the least hospitable climates on earth. “We use more water for agriculture than for any other human pursuit—more than cooking, cleaning, or manufacturing,” Secretary Clinton said. “But our water supply is finite. So if we’re going to strengthen food security, we have to get more out of each drop.”

Hillel’s research is credited with driving a major shift in irrigation techniques. Using his method, farmers apply water in small but continuous amounts directly to plant roots. Hillel proved that plants that are grown using microirrigation produce higher yields than those grown using older methods of flooding or sprinkler irrigation. This innovation has impacted the lives of millions of people around the world.

Secretary Clinton also noted the ways that Hillel’s work ties in with Feed the Future’s focus on “finding ways to do more with less and deliver results to people in need.” Since 2011, more than $100 million has been dedicated under Feed the Future to improve watershed management and promote water productivity in agricultural development.

Learn more about Hillel’s life and work on microirrigation in arid climates.

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