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Agricultural News

Sir Fazle Hasan Abed of Bangladesh Named World Food Prize Laureate

Fri, 16 Oct 2015 11:16:45 CDT

Sir Fazle Hasan Abed of Bangladesh Named World Food Prize Laureate On Thursday in Des Moines, the World Food Prize organization honored Sir Fazle Hasan Abed of Bangladesh as the World Food Prize Laureate. As the founder and chairperson of BRAC, formerly known as the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, he has grown the organization into the world’s largest non-governmental organization, enhancing food security and providing 150 million people with the opportunity to improve their lives. His approach to development has addressed the connection between hunger and poverty, including the development of food security programs that have helped more than half of a million farmers gain access to proven technologies, efficient farming methods and financial support services.

The scale and impact of BRAC's work in Bangladesh and 10 other countries is unprecedented. Under his leadership of more than 40 years, BRAC’s agricultural and development innovations have improved food security for millions and contributed to a significant decline in poverty levels through direct impacts to farmers and small communities across the globe. BRAC has provided opportunity for nearly150 million people worldwide.

Knighted by the British Crown in 2009, Abed pioneered a new approach to development that addresses the connection between hunger and poverty. Abed and BRAC developed agriculture and food security programs that have helped more than 500,000 farmers gain access to efficient farming techniques, proven technologies and financial support services. And he has been a leader in empowering women as agents of change through microfinance, education and healthcare.

BRAC’s multi-dimensional and dynamic methods of reducing hunger and poverty include the creation and support of a range of integrated enterprises, such as: seed production and dissemination; feed mills, poultry and fish hatcheries; milk collection centers and milk processing factories; tea plantations; and packaging factories. The income generated from these social enterprises is used to subsidize primary schools and essential health care.

Abed was born into a distinguished Bangladeshi family in 1936. After graduating from Dhaka College and the University of Glasgow in Scotland, he pursued a career in accounting. He graduated from London's Chartered Institute of Management Accountants in 1962. He returned to his homeland in 1969, accepting a position with the Shell Oil Company in Chittagong. In just two years, he was promoted to head of the company's accounting department and was living as a corporate executive.

In 1970-71, however, his life and the lives of millions of Bangladeshis changed. The country was devastated by a deadly tropical cyclone and by the war of independence from Pakistan that followed. The combined death toll was estimated at well over 3 million people; an additional 10 million were displaced and further impoverished. Abed resigned from Shell Oil in 1971 and formed BRAC the following year to address the terrible suffering of the people of his country.

Thinking locally and acting globally, BRAC has spread its antipoverty solutions to Uganda, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Liberia, Haiti, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. Through his visionary work, Abed has demonstrated a profound understanding of the role that agriculture plays in development as well as the complexities that perpetuate poverty.



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