Israeli scientist Daniel Hillel was awarded the 2012 World Food Prize here Thursday evening for conceiving and implementing a radically new mode of bringing water to crops in arid and dry land regions, known as micro-irrigation.
Hillel's pioneering scientific work in Israel revolutionized food production, first in the Middle East, and then in other regions around the world over the past five decades. His work laid the foundation for maximizing efficient water usage in agriculture, increasing crop yields, and minimizing environmental degradation.
Hillel proved that plants grown in continuously moist soil, achieved through micro-irrigation, produced higher yields than plants grown under the old flooding or sprinkler irrigation methods.
Using less water in agriculture per unit of land not only conserves a scarce resource in arid and semi-arid regions, but also results in significantly "more crop per drop," with the successful cultivation of field crops and fruit trees - even in coarse sands and gravel.
By integrating complex scientific principles, designing practical applications, and achieving wide outreach to farmers, communities, researchers, and agricultural policymakers in more than 30 countries, Hillel has impacted the lives of millions.
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