An Israeli inventor was awarded the 2012 World Food Prize on Tuesday, at a ceremony hosted by the US State Department.
Speaking at the event, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton congratulated Dr Daniel Hillel on his ground-breaking work on micro-irrigation, noting that throughout his research, "he understood the critical role that water plays in agriculture and the importance of getting every last drop used efficiently".
Dr Hillel's techniques, which he pioneered at a Negev kibbutz during the early 1950s, led to a global shift away from traditionally wasteful agricultural methods such as flood irrigation, and have been adopted by millions of farmers in more than 30 countries.
Upon receiving the $250,000 prize, the scientist added a note of realism to the proceedings, stating that "the work this award recognises is far from complete. The task of improving the sustainable management of the Earth's finite and vulnerable soil, water, and energy resources for the benefit of humanity while sustaining the natural biotic community...is an ongoing and increasingly urgent challenge".
The World Food Prize was established in 1987 by Nobel Peace Prize winner and "father of the Green Revolution" Dr Norman Borlaug, to reward people who have significantly contributed to increases in the quality, quantity or availability of food across the globe.