Soil scientist Rattan Lal wins World Food Prize 2020

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By: Express News Service | Ludhiana | Published: June 13, 2020 1:46:17 am

Rattan Lal, Rattan Lal World Food Prize Rattan Lal

An alumnus of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) and a renowned agricultural soil scientist from Ohio State University (OSU), Dr Rattan Lal (76), has been declared the winner of the World Food Prize 2020.

The announcement was made by World Food Prize Foundation president Barbara Stinson in an online ceremony from Washington on June 11.

PAU Vice-Chancellor Dr B S Dhillon, in a statement, said PAU may be the only institution in the world to have two alumni as World Food Laureates. The honour was earlier won by PAU alumnus Dr Gurdev Singh Khush, a plant breeder and pioneer in rice genetics.  Responding to the congratulatory message from PAU V-C, the winning scientist Dr Rattan Lal remarked, “To be a graduate from PAU is a great honour in itself. I want to thank you, the faculty staff and students of PAU for their support and good wishes. I look forward to visiting the university which has been long overdue.”

Lal, referring to Khush, said he was “a big inspiration and a unique role model to follow”.

Dr Lal did his graduation (B.Sc in agriculture) from Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) in 1963, M.Sc (soils) in 1965 from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) and PhD (soils) in 1968 from Ohio State University.

A professor of Soil Science at Ohio State University, he is also the founding director of the university’s Carbon Management and Sequestration Center.

Stinson, while announcing him as the winner, termed Dr Lal as “trailblazer in soil science with a prodigious passion for research that improves soil health, enhances agricultural production, improves the nutritional quality of food, restores the environment and mitigates climate change”.

Dr Lal was born in Karyal in erstwhile Punjab (now in Pakistan). He was conferred the honorary degree of Doctor of Science by PAU in 2001.

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