President Lula da Silva made it clear, even before he took office as president of Brazil in 2003, that fighting hunger and poverty would be a top priority of his government. More than 10 government ministries were focused on the expansive Zero Hunger programs, which provided greater access to food, strengthened family farms and rural incomes, increased enrollment of primary school children, and empowered the poor. 

Zero Hunger very quickly became one of the most successful food and nutritional security policies in the world through its broad network of programs, including: the Bolsa Familia Program; the Food Purchase Program; and the School Feeding Program.

Over the eight years of his administration, President Lula da Silva’s commitment and vision achieved dramatic reductions in hunger, extreme poverty and social exclusion, thereby greatly enhancing the lives of Brazil’s people.

“I am convinced that what was important during my administration was the result of the partnership with the Brazilian population," said former president Lula da Silva. “I am really moved to know Brazil was chosen as a country that achieved good policies regarding agriculture and hunger. Brazil has a lot to show in the area of food security.

“And we want to share our experience with other countries, especially with African country and poor countries in Latin America – both our technical knowledge, and from the point of view of food productivity and distribution.”

During his tenure, UN Millennium Development Goal 1 was exceeded as Brazil reduced by half its proportion of hungry people, with 93 percent of children and 82 percent of adults eating three meals a day, and also reduced the percentage of Brazilians living in extreme poverty from 12 percent in 2003 down to 4.8 percent in 2009.

These two leaders will be formally awarded the World Food Prize at the 25th Anniversary Laureate Award Ceremony at the Iowa State Capital on October 13, in conjunction with the Borlaug Dialogue international symposium. The theme of this year’s dialogue will be “The Next Generation: Confronting the Hunger Challenges of Tomorrow.”

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