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Former presidential leaders awarded World Food Prize

Under Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva the proportion of hungry citizens was cut by half (© Ricardo Stuckert)
Under Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva the proportion of hungry citizens was cut by half
© Ricardo Stuckert

The highly prestigious World Food Prize for 2011 has been awarded to two former heads of state, John Agyekum Kufuor of Ghana and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil; both instigated immense changes during their terms of presidency by addressing the issue of poverty head on. Their persistent dedication and prioritising of agricultural legislation greatly reduced the rates of poverty and hunger within their two nations.

Under Kufuor's nine-year leadership, Ghana cut its poverty rate by half, reducing it from 51.7 per cent to 26.5 per cent by 2008. Consequently, this was followed by a sharp reduction in the rate of extreme hunger, from 34 per cent to nine per cent. As a result of this progress, the UN's Millennium Development Goal of reducing by half the percentage of the population living in extreme poverty and hunger was achieved, making Ghana the first Sub-Saharan African country to do so.

Lula da Silva's term of presidency in Brazil achieved similar success. Through his administration's innovative and transformational government policies, including the 'zero hunger program', the proportion of hungry citizens was cut by half, along with a significant decrease in the number of people living in extreme poverty. The purpose of the programme was to greatly increase the availability of quality food to Brazilians by implementing agricultural loans and food aid. Its effectiveness has encouraged other countries, such as Venezuela and Nicaragua, to adopt similar policies.

Date published: July 2011


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