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When is the right time to start? Now!
By Edona Dervisholli, GHI Policy Intern
No matter what we do, there is always a starting point. That starting point propels us to move forward and paves the way for a discussion of things that matter to us. Jeffrey N. Simmons, winner of the 2013 Borlaug CAST Communication Award, is Senior Vice President and Executive Officer at Eli Lilly and Company and the President of Elanco Animal Health Division. On Thursday, May 1, he gave an energetic and fascinating presentation, “ENOUGH: The Fight for a Food-Secure Tomorrow,” at the World Bankfocusing how to generate the will to end global hunger. Jeff gave this lecture as the recipient of the CAST (Council for Agricultural Science and Technology) Award for outstanding achievement by a scientist, engineer, technologist, or other professional working in the agricultural, environmental, or food sectors for contributing to the advancement of science in the public policy arena.
His enthusiastic message urged others to work on what matters the most. Each year should be viewed as an opportunity to create something bigger and better for ourselves “That’s because the need for what we do has never been greater.”
Jeff began by explaining how to interpret the story of ending hunger. Jeff believes that it is crucial to use better, more effective communication to share the story of how hunger and poverty robs people of their dignity. We need to experience, first and foremost, this urgent need that others have and to make it our own hunger as well. Jeff’s determination to identify what hunger meant was answered by conversing with families across many African countries. He discovered how shameful people become as a result of experiencing hunger within the family.
Jeff shared more about the six faces of food security, depending on the severity of the level of hunger and poverty: the collapse (25,000 die) the deficiency (no meat in the diet), the hunt (daily search for the meal), the quality (getting the right calories), the edge (temporary life event creates short term need) and the traditional (short term need). Each one of these six faces requires a different strategy and solution to meet the needs.
Innovation, Choice, and Trade are core approaches to meet the needs for stability, access, resource conservation, health, and affordability. Jeff described innovation as the face of hope—to produce alternatives using what we have, and to increase productivity. Second, he explained the importance of choice—ensuring that the customer has an array of nutritious options to choose from, as well as producers having an array of tools that can be used for specific production needs. Finally, Jeff explained the importance of trade in facilitating the flow of food to deliver it where it is most needed. Innovation, choice and trade help us meet those demands for food and agriculture as we move forward and seek tangible results to end hunger.