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18 June 2020

World Food Prize Winner 2020: Rattan Lal

The World Food Prize is an international award recognising the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity, or availability of food in the world. The 2020 World Food Prize has been awarded to Rattan Lal, an Indian professor in soil science and affiliated with the Ohio State University.

We at SIANI wishes to congratulate Professor Lal of this wonderful achievement. The reason behind Professor Lal receiving the prize is that during his long and impressive research career, he has developed and mainstreamed a soil-centric approach to increasing food production that restores and conserves natural resources and mitigates climate change.

He is one of the most productive and important agricultural scientists worldwide and although his research career is already spanning more than five decades and four continents, he continues to contribute to the important research discussions around soils and the role they play in global food production and countering food crisis. It is estimated that he has promoted innovative soil-saving techniques benefiting the livelihoods of more than 500 million smallholder farmers, improving the food and nutritional security of more than two billion people, and saving hundreds of millions of hectares of natural tropical ecosystems.

We were fortunate enough to have Rattan Lal as a guest presenter at a SIANI seminar organised in Malmö in 2015 on the topic of how to maintain agricultural soils healthy and productive around the globe and his presentation can be found here (amongst other great presenters) S.O.S – Save our soils.

For those of us who are not soil experts, he also took some time during the seminar to answer questions of why soils are so important and what carbon sequestration really is.

We are so grateful that researchers as prominent as Rattan Lal contribute their time and expertise to help us learn and better understand the complex problems we are facing in securing global food security. And once again, our warmest congratulations to the 2020 Laureate of the World Food Prize, Professor Rattan Lal.