New York: Eminent Indian-American soil scientist Rattan Lal was on Thursday named this year’s recipient of $2,50,000 World Food Prize, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lauding his research in soil science, saying he is helping millions of small farmers around the world with his work on increasing food production and recycling of nutrients.
“The world’s population continues to grow, and we need to use the resources we have more productively and efficiently to make sure everyone has enough food on their table,” Pompeo said.
Dr Lal, 75, was named as the 2020 World Food Prize Laureate for developing and mainstreaming a soil-centric approach to increasing food production that conserves natural resources and mitigates climate change.
“Dr Lal’s research in soil science shows that the solution to this problem is right under our feet. He’s helping the earth’s estimated 500 million small farmers be faithful stewards of their land though improved management, less soil degradation, and the recycling of nutrients. Billions of people who depend on these farms stand to benefit greatly from his work,” he said.
A native of India and citizen of the United States, Dr Lal has in his career of over 50 years and across four continents promoted innovative soil-saving techniques that benefited the livelihoods of more than 500 million smallholder farmers, improved the food and nutritional security of more than two billion people and saved hundreds of millions of hectares of natural tropical ecosystems, the World Food Prize organisation said.
Describing his “unbound joy and excitement” on receiving the 2020 World Food Prize, Dr. Lal said the “urgent task of feeding humanity is not fulfilled until each and every person has access to an adequate amount of nutritious food grown on a healthy soil and in a clean environment.”