Purdue's World Food Prize laureate in television message

October 26, 2011

Gebisa Ejeta, director of the Purdue Center for Global Food Security, surrounded by a crop of sorghum. Ejeta earned the 2009 World Food Prize for his work in developing sorghum varieties resistant to drought and the parasitic weed Striga. (Purdue Agricultural Communication file photo/Tom Campbell)

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The head of the Purdue University Center for Global Food Security is featured in a television message that highlights his World Food Prize-winning research and emphasizes the university's tradition of helping to solve global problems.

The 30-second message, produced for the Big Ten Network and other halftime spots and sports broadcasts, shows Gebisa Ejeta walking in his sorghum field at the university's Agronomy Center for Research and Education, reflecting on his work to reduce hunger in his native Africa.

"To be told that your work has fed millions and saved lives is very rewarding indeed," Ejeta says in the message.

Ejeta, of Ethiopia, received the 2009 World Food Prize for developing sorghum varieties resistant to drought and the parasitic weed Striga. His research greatly increased the production and availability of sorghum for hundreds of millions of people in Africa, where it is a major food crop.

The spot plays off Purdue's nickname of Boilermakers by referring to him as a "Discovery Maker" and "Nutrition Maker." It ends with the statement that "What we make moves the world forward."

The video is available on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWtrX8tm69o  or via a link on the Purdue Agriculture home page at http://www.ag.purdue.edu

In March the Center for Global Food Security began operations to help find solutions to world hunger. About 1 billion of the world's nearly 7 billion people suffer from chronic hunger, and scientists project that agriculture will need to double food production by 2050, when the world's population is expected to reach 9 billion.

The center has developed an action plan that focuses on three components: education, research and development, and advocacy, said Ejeta, the center's executive director.

Because Ejeta said the next generation needs to be "fluent in issues of global food security," the center is working toward developing student internships and a graduate program in global food security.

Research and development initiatives will be based in production agriculture and use Purdue expertise and resources to help the agricultural industry produce food more efficiently and safely.

Since receiving the World Food Prize, Ejeta has traveled the world to advocate for government policies aimed at improving food security. In October he moderated a panel discussion of presidents from four African nations at World Food Prize headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, on topics of hunger and poverty.

The Center for Global Food Security is conducting a nationwide search for a managing director, who will run its daily operations. An appointment is expected soon.

The center is based at the university's Discovery Park, a complex of organizations leading large-scale collaborative research efforts on campus.

Writer: Keith Robinson, 765-494-2722, robins89@purdue.edu 

Source: Gebisa Ejeta, 765- 494-4320, gejeta@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson, robins89@purdue.edu
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