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Dr Rattan Lal, Indian -American Eminent Soil Scientist Awarded World Food Prize 2020

Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan
Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan

The Eminent Indian –American Soil Scientist Dr Rattan Lal has been awarded World Food Prize 2020 for increasing the global food supply by helping small farmers improve their soil. The award is issued by the World Food Prize Foundation based in Iowa. He is a Distinguished University Professor in the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at Ohio University. He has been working with soils to improve the quality of degraded soils across the continents for many many decades.

We at Agriculture World and Krishi Jagran are thrilled to hear that the Eminent Scientist Dr. Ratan Lal has received the World Food Prize whom we had the privilege of meeting him at the 55th Annual Seminar of FAI on Monday in, New Delhi. At that time he had flown in from Ohio to receive the U S Awasthi IFFCO Awards for Lifetime Achievement in the field of Agriculture Research & Development for 2018-19. The award was for scientists who have made extraordinary contributions in their chosen fields of work in fertilisers and agriculture.

We also had a very personal interaction with him after the IFFCO awards were presented .We came across him as a tall and gentile petite structure very soft spoken rich with knowledge. When asked about him he reminded himself of being an Indian and living in Punjab during his childhood and the family being involved in farming. In an exclusive talk with us he reiterated on even though having tremendous progress in agriculture the yield of rice, wheat, corn soyabean etc are half as compared to China while it should be more. Ours soils are better in quality than china soils. We have to give tremendous care to soil and our soil quality and we have to lessen the dependence on chemicals he said. The Heath of soils if not good cannot be compensated by adding chemicals, tillage and water but by proper management of adding organic matter he said. We really need to give attention to our soils. Proper management of Organic matter is what Indian soils need to have.

Dr Rattan Lal has advocated many agricultural practices like eliminating ploughing, retaining crop residue after harvest planting of cover crops, lessening the use of chemical fertilizers and many low cost methods affordable to every farmer in the world. In these times of climate change and pandemics these agricultural practices could definitely improve agriculture systems globally.

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