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Indian-American Soil Scientist Dr. Rattan Lal wins 2020 World Food Prize

Because of Dr. Rattan Lal's research, the soils are now not only the foundation for increasing the quantity and quality of food and for preserving natural ecosystems but are also an important part of mitigating climate change as well.

Jun 14, 2020 19:26 IST
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Indian-American Soil Scientist Dr. Rattan Lal has won the 2020 World Food Prize on June 11 for mainstreaming and developing a soil centric approach in order to increase food production that conserves natural resources and mitigates climate change.

Michael Pompeo, US Secretary of State, praised Dr. Lal mentioning that he has been helping 500 million small farmers through less soil degradation, improved management, and recycling of nutrients.

As per the statement by World Food Prize Foundation, the 2020 Laureate Announcement Ceremony features pre-recorded remarks from Pompeo and Sony Perdue, US Secretary of Agriculture along with Barbara Stinson, Food Prize Foundation President announcing the name of the laureate.

Dr. Rattan Lal on receiving the 2020 World Food Prize:

Dr. Rattan Lal expressed his excitement on receiving the 2020 World Food Prize and mentioned that his unbound joy on receiving the award reminds him of the privilege, gratitude, and honor of working with farmers from around the world.

He further mentioned that the urgent task of feeding humanity will not be fulfilled until each and every individual has access to an adequate amount of nutritious food that is grown on healthy soil and a clean environment.

Dr. Rattan Lal has been serving as a Distinguished University Professor of Soil Science and is also the Founding Director of the Carbon Management and Sequestration Centre at The Ohio State University (OSU).

Key Highlights:

•   The statement released by the World Food prize Foundation acknowledged dr. Lal’s humble beginning as a refugee growing up on a small subsistence farm in India to his determination to learn and succeed in school that propelled him to become one of the world’s foremost soil scientists.

•   Three separate United Nations Climate Change Conferences had adopted his strategy of restoring soil health as a means to sequestering carbon.

•    When the IPCC was named co-recipient of the Nobel prize, Dr. Lal was named among those who were recognized with a Nobel Peace Prize Certificate, in 2007, for his contributions to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports.

About Dr. Rattan Lal’s work and contribution to the field:

Dr. Rattan Lal began his research career at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Nigeria. He developed soil health restoration projects across Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Dr. Lal explored and transformed the techniques such as overcropping, no-tillage, agroforestry, and mulching that protected the soil from the conserved water, elements, and returned carbon, nutrients, and organic matter to the soil.

This further improved the long-term sustainability of agroecosystems and minimized the risks for farmers of floods, drought, and other effects of climate change.

He returned to his alma meter Ohio State University (OSU) in 1987, where his research showed how atmospheric carbon can be sequestered in soils. This breakthrough transformed the way the soil was seen.

Because of the research, the soils are now not only the foundation for increasing the quantity and quality of food and for preserving natural ecosystems but are also an important part of mitigating climate change as well.

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