Saturday, 3 November 2007

The World Food Prize Youth program

Students from more than 140 high schools in Iowa and beyond have participated in World Food Prize Foundation youth programs. Each October during the Norman E. Borlaug International Symposium, the Youth Institute provides students the opportunity to interact with Nobel and World Food Prize Laureates and offers exposure to an array of experts, facilities and organizations relating to nutrition and food security.

Each participating high school designates a student and faculty member to attend the Institute, which takes place in Des Moines during a three-day period that includes the Laureate Award Ceremony and International Symposium. Student and faculty teams prepare discussion papers, which are presented by the students during a day-long seminar before a panel of World Food Prize Council of Advisors and Laureates - individuals who are acknowledged leaders in a broad range of food and agricultural disciplines. Development of the papers can be a project of a single student, a group of students, or an entire class. Faculty members serve as advisors. The papers are published in the Youth Institute Proceedings.

Biofuels Primer: Biofuels are liquid or gaseous fuels derived from biomass, which can be identified generally as organic matter; for the purposes of fuel, organic matter is plant material or animal waste. While biofuels include compounds and elements such as methanol, methane, and hydrogen, the two fuels primarily in commercial production are ethanol and biodiesel. Ethanol is a liquid fuel generated from converting the carbohydrate portion of biomass into sugar and then fermenting the sugar, while biodiesel is produced through the transesterfication of organically-derived oils or fats.

Food Security Primer: Food security is when people do not live in hunger or fear of starvation. Food insecurity exists when people are undernourished as a result of the physical unavailability of food, their lack of social or economic access to adequate food, and/or inadequate food utilization. World-wide around 852 million people are without enough food to eat on a regular basis and another 2 billion face intermittent food insecurity. There are 22 countries, 16 of which are in Africa, in which the undernourishment prevalence rate is over 35%.

Increased agricultural productivity enables farmers to grow more food, which translates into better diets and, under market conditions that offer a level playing field, into higher farm incomes. With more money, farmers are more likely to diversify production and grow higher-value crops, benefiting not only themselves but the economy as a whole.

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