2020 World Food Prize

Oct 15, 2020  | 57 min  | 2020

Join Iowa PBS for the remembrance, pageantry, international music and a celebration of agricultural breakthroughs in the fight against global hunger during the 2020 World Food Prize.

Hunger fighters from across the globe honor award-winning achievements with the World Food Prize. The 2020 prize is awarded to Dr. Rattan Lal, whose pioneering research on the restoration of soil health in Africa, Asia and Latin America led to revelations that impacted agricultural yields, natural resource conservation and climate change mitigation. The agricultural practices Lal advocated are now at the heart of efforts to improve agriculture systems globally.

“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,” said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a pre-recorded segment of the laureate announcement ceremony. “Dr. Lal’s research in soil science shows that the solution to this problem is right under our feet.”

The World Food Prize was founded by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Iowan Norman Borlaug. After winning the Nobel Prize in 1970 for his achievements in agricultural research, Borlaug envisioned a separate international award to recognize those who have made significant contributions to advancements in the quality, quantity and availability of food in the world.

Programming support for the 2020 World Food Prize is provided by the W.T. and Edna M. Dahl Trust.

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Funding for the 2020 World Food Prize has been provided by, Friends, the Iowa PBS Foundation. And a grant from the W.T. & Edna M. Dahl Trust.

The events of 2020 and a global coronavirus pandemic has impacted countries across the world. But tonight's focus will largely rest on another issue of significant importance, global hunger. Even though world leaders won't all be gathering for a traditional World Food Prize Ceremony in Iowa's State Capitol, the honors, dialogue and our broadcast continues. The collective view of global hunger fighters will convene tonight in the 2020 World Food Prize Ceremony.

 

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Welcome to the 2020 World Food Prize Laureate Awards Ceremony. For the first time in the history of this event, we bring you the program in a completely virtual atmosphere.

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There can be no permanent progress in the battle against hunger until the agencies that fight for increased food production and those that fight for population control unite in a common effort. Fighting alone they may win temporary skirmishes, but united they can win a decisive and lasting victory to provide food and the other amenities of a progressive civilization for the betterment of all mankind.

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(music) I am strong! I am invincible! I am woman!

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(music) I am woman watch me grow, see me standing toe to toe, as I spread my loving arms across the land.

(music) We are the world. We are the children. We are the ones to make a brighter day --

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As eyes once again turn to Des Moines for the presentation of the World Food Prize, it is edifying to reflect on the fact that when the Iowa Territory was first opened for settlement in 1834, the global population had just reached 1 billion. When Norman Borlaug and John Ruan Sr. were born in 1914, the world population had only risen to 1.7 billion, an addition of 700 million people in 80 years.

However, just 95 years later, when Dr. Borlaug passed away in 2009, there were 7 billion people on the face of the Earth, an increase of 5.3 billion more mouths to feed.

As global population grows at this staggering rate, the battle against hunger struggles to keep up. It was a singular dedication to feeding this ever-expanding world that led to Norman Borlaug's vision of creating the World Food Prize.

Born on a small Iowa farm, Dr. Borlaug's pioneering work in Mexico to produce higher yielding strains of wheat, ushered in the Green Revolution, preventing large scale famine in South Asia and earning him the title of the man who has saved more lives than any other person who has ever lived.

Shortly after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970, Dr. Borlaug embarked on a mission to recognize and inspire those individuals who would lead the fight against world hunger. And in 1986, the General Foods World Food Prize was born.

The first World Food Prize was awarded in 1987 to Dr. M.S. Swaminathan of India. However, just three short years later, the future of the World Food Prize was in serious doubt after corporate restructuring ended financial support for the prize. Dr. Borlaug would once again have to find a sponsor. This time his search would lead him back to Iowa and toward the formation of a partnership that would forever change the World Food Prize.

Noted businessman and philanthropist, John Ruan Sr. who like Dr. Borlaug was born in a small Iowa town in 1914, had a longstanding vision that Iowa be seen as the agricultural capital of America, thus a resonant chord was struck in Ruan and in 1990 he announced his intent to bring the prize to Iowa, thereby securing its future.

Over the last decades, with the support of the Governor and the State Legislature and its many donors, the Prize has not only survived, but flourished, especially under the direction of its new Chairman John Ruan III.

Fulfilling Norman Borlaug's vision, world leaders have called the World Food Prize the Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture. The World Food Prize Laureates hail from countries around the world and have been at the forefront of the single greatest period of food production in all of human history. They are responsible for a diverse array of accomplishments, including dramatically improving rice production in Asia and Africa, the development of quality protein maize in Mexico, the eradication of pests and diseases, promoting and expanding the diary and seed industries in India, reforming the food policy framework in China and countries in South Asia and North Africa, utilizing methods of microcredit, aquaculture and humanitarian relief to empower poor rural women, making deserts bloom in the Middle East, unveiling the promise of biotechnology and uplifting smallholder farmers out of poverty across Africa.

In conjunction with the presentation of the $250,000 prize in the magnificent Iowa State Capitol, each year the World Food Prize gathers international experts to address critical issues in global food security through its international symposium known as the Borlaug Dialogue. Referred to as the premier conference in the world on global food security, it has featured speakers such as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Prime Minister Tony Blair, Agrichairman Kofi Annan, Princess Haya bint al-Hussein and Bill Gates, who launched his multibillion dollar initiative to uplift African agriculture in 2009 as well as smallholder farmers from Africa, Asia and Latin America. Other World Food Prize events have featured world leaders such as President Xi Jinping of China and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.

As we celebrate the accomplishments of the laureates who have uplifted the lives of tens of millions of people over the past decades, it is sobering to reflect on the fact that in 2046, when Iowa celebrates its bicentennial as a state, and the World Food Prize will observe its 60th anniversary, the global population will have just reached 9 billion.

Whether we are able to sustainably and nutritiously feed all of these people is perhaps the greatest challenge the world has ever faced. It will be the next generations of laureates and global leaders who will determine whether we are able to fulfill Dr. Borlaug's dictum enshrined in the magnificent World Food Prize Hall of Laureates, that food is the moral right of all who are born into this world.

With the legacies of Norman Borlaug and John Ruan Sr. to guide them, and the World Food Prize Laureates to inspire them, there is every reason to be optimistic. And so, thanks to the remarkable accomplishments of its laureates and the contributions of its founders, what began as one man's idea has grown to become the world's foremost award recognizing great accomplishments and inspiring even greater achievements in the fight to eradicate hunger and poverty in the 21st century.

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Please welcome the President of the World Food Prize Foundation, Barbara Stinson.

Barbara Stinson: Greetings to everyone watching on Iowa PBS and to the thousands following via webcast around the globe. Welcome to the 2020 World Food Prize Laureate Award Ceremony. Governor Reynolds, on behalf of our Chairman John Ruan III, Janice Ruan, my husband Don and all of us at the World Food Prize Foundation, please know how grateful we are to you for presiding over today's ceremony. Thank you for the privilege of holding this ceremony once again at our magnificent Iowa State Capitol.

Stinson: We have a time-honored tradition of over 21 years gathering here at the House Chambers, and I promise you we cannot wait to be back again in person. Tomorrow, October 16th, marks the celebration of World Food Day around the globe. The United State first observed World Food Day in 1981 making this the 40th celebration by our nation. Since its founding by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, World Food Day has served as a mechanism to heighten public awareness, promote technological advances, celebrate successes and encourage worldwide cooperation in the fight for food security.

Stinson: Acknowledging this important year, we remain committed to FAO's original idea, to promote and enhance continuity of action year-round. We're honored to commemorate World Food Day by convening distinguished international guests participating in this week's series of events to elevate the work going on around the world to end hunger. Here today with me is John Ruan III, the man who convinced former World Food Prize Foundation President, Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, to return to Iowa in 1999 to carry forward the vision that his father and Normal Borlaug laid out.

Stinson: From my first few months at the Foundation, I have come to know only with Don's support and guidance have we been able to build the World Food Prize, to fulfill his father's and Norm's dream, to essentially be the Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture. To the entire Ruan family, thank you all for all you have done to support the World Food Prize over these decades. As Norman Borlaug often said, there would not be a World Food Prize except for the generosity of the Ruan family.

Stinson: We are gathering now to recognize the 50th World Food Prize Laureate. This year we honor a man who epitomizes Dr. Borlaug's philosophy, science is meaningless if it does not serve humanity. This philosophy has been carried forward by Dr. Borlaug's family, Jeanie, and his son Bill, as well as his granddaughter Julie. We cannot thank you all enough for your support.

Stinson: Our 2020 Laureate is recognize for developing and mainstreaming a soil-centric approach to agriculture and increases food production while restoring and conserving natural resources and mitigating climate change. Over his career spanning more than five decades and four continents, our 50th Laureate has promoted soil-saving techniques benefiting more than 500 million smallholder farmers, improving the security of over 2 billion people, and saving hundreds of millions of hectares of natural tropical ecosystems.

Stinson: Dr. Rattan Lal, not only do we at the World Food Prize want to celebrate you, but some highly distinguished and familiar faces would like to do so as well.

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Frank Burkett: Dr. Lal's lifelong commitment to soil science is something that farmers can easily relate to. Success on the farm hinges on the long-term goal of farmers leaving the ground better than they found it for the next generation. Dr. Lal's research has been a great resource for that vision and the accomplishment that he has achieved will be an asset for countless farmers around the world, leaving our Earth and our environment healthy for many generations to come. Congratulations, Dr. Lal, and thank you for your dedication to agriculture.

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Dr. Raj Paroda: Dr. Lal has admittedly championed soil health so critical for our future sustainability. Being a son of the soil from the region of Green Revolution -- in the field of carbon sequestration and conservation agriculture for sustainable -- congratulations. We are proud of your leadership and for the prestigious award being received by you today.

Dr. Uma Lele: Hello, Rattan! Congratulations. What an honor and a pleasure to be part of your World Food Prize celebrations. An important lesson I have taken out of all your work on soil is put more in soil than what you take out. IT's a philosophy you have followed all your life and we are the beneficiaries from it. Congratulations.

Michael Drake: I'm Michael Drake, President of the University of California. I'm honored to congratulate Dr. Rattan Lal on his selection as the 2020 World Food Prize Laureate. I came to know Dr. Lal during the time that I was President of Ohio State University and get to admire his work over a career spanning more than five decades. Dr. Lal's pioneering research on soil science, agriculture and climate change has transformed the world's approach to sustainable farming. Dr. Lal showed the world how conservation agriculture can maintain high crop yields while preventing carbon from escaping into the atmosphere whether on a single plot of land in a developing country or a large industrial farm. Preserving soil health and sequestering carbon in the ground are some of the most important actions humans can take to increase food security and to combat climate change. I really hope that more scientists and farmers will be able to follow in Dr. Lal's footsteps and continue on with his outstanding work. Nothing short of the future of our planet is at stake. Dr. Lal, congratulations on this well-deserved honor.

Jeffrey Zellers: Greetings, Dr. Lal. On behalf of Nationwide and our board of directors, I would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations on earning the 2020 World Food Prize. Your innovative techniques have helped us sustain the lives of billions across the globe while strengthening food security and the value of the farmer. As a company founded in agriculture and leading protector of farmers and ranchers across the United States, we truly appreciate your lifetime of dedicated work to soil health and conservation. As a third generation farmer, I understand the importance of innovative research. We wish you continued success in your research that inspires future generations of agricultural innovators at the Ohio State University.

Cathann Kress: From his humble beginnings on a farm with an ox-driven plow, as the only person in his family who learned to read and write, and the only person whom the family could afford to send to school, to a world-renowned scientist and World Food Prize Laureate, Dr. Rattan Lal advances science, advances knowledge and advances our industry. Congratulations Dr. Rattan Lal on this well-deserved honor.

Alex McBratney: Hi, I'm Alex McBratney. I'm the Director of the Institute of Agriculture at the University of Sydney. Today I'm at our crop breeding station here in Narrabri, New South Wales standing in a chickpea crop -- which is very common for this area. The reason why I'm here is that about 50 years ago Rattan Lal was a student here at the University of Sydney and he actually did some of his research work here on this research station. So I thought it would be appropriate to remind Rattan of that and tell everybody that we do wonderful work for food security in the world in places like this. No one has done more in the last 50 years to elucidate the importance of soil and soil security to food security to climate change and indeed to the existence of humanity on the planet than Rattan Lal. He has worked extraordinarily diligently to make everyone aware of the importance of soil. And we here at the University of Sydney are very proud to be associated with Rattan and his work and we wish him well for his future and congratulate him on this wonderful World Food Prize. Well done, Rattan. And as a soil scientist and a part of the soil science community, we are very proud of you. Thank you.

Kristina Johnson: I'm Kristina Johnson, President of The Ohio State University and I am so honored to join you in celebrating Dr. Lal as he is awarded the World Food Prize today. Surveying Dr. Lal's incredible career in life, it is hard to comprehend the scale of his impact. He has worked for more than 50 years across five continents and 100 countries and because of his efforts 2 billion people now have greater access to nutritious food and 500 million small farms across the world provide a better livelihood for those who work them. These figures are incredible. But what is more important is the human impact of Dr. Lal's pioneering work, something he understands well. As a child in Pakistan and Northern India, he worked one of those smallholder farms with his family and learned just how important healthy soil is to the well-being of people and communities the world over. As goes the soil, so goes humanity. As we honor Dr. Lal's direct contributions to food security and our environment, we also recognize his efforts to inspire others to this extraordinary cause. Through decades of teaching, mentoring and outreach, he has planted the seeds and nurtured the green shoots of enduring progress for the benefit of all humankind. Thank you, Dr. Lal, for all you have done and will continue to do and on behalf of our entire Ohio State family, congratulations.

Dr. Olafur Ragnar Grimsson: Most scientists create new knowledge. Some change the world. A few transform our planet. Dr. Rattan Lal has done all three and it has been a privilege to work with him in Europe, Asia and America, witness his insights and his pioneering scientific spirit. He profoundly deserves this distinguished prize. But above all, he deserves our gratitude. Congratulations, Rattan.

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Norman Borlaug and John Ruan shared a passion. In 1994 they added an element to the World Food Prize, a Youth Institute with deliberations between 14 Iowa high school students and 3 Nobel Peace Prize recipients. In 1999, the Foundation created the Borlaug-Ruan International Internship Program, which invites high school aged student interns to participate in projects with distinguished researchers at leading agricultural research centers around the globe. While getting a firsthand view of real and pressing food security and nutrition problems in poverty stricken areas, the students become an integral part of a project. They spend time in an international lab as well as in the field conducting research and interviews and gathering data.

Since then, the World Food Prize Foundation youth programs have grown significantly, now engaging over 10,000 high school students, teachers and experts to explore and solve hunger and food security issues each year. Two of the most extraordinary 2019 Borlaug-Ruan International Interns will be honored. Each year at this ceremony, two awards are presented to the Borlaug-Ruan interns who have submitted the most impactful reports about their scientific research and cross-cultural experience. The Borlaug-Ruan Intern Awards are named for Iowa Agricultural Ambassador John Chrystal and the late Iowa State Senator Elaine Szymoniak.

The recipient of the 2020 John Crystal Intern Award is Donald Gee of Johnston, Iowa. Donald is a junior at the Georgia Institute of Technology and was stationed at the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development in Kathmandu, Nepal during his internship. He researched reviving springs and improving spring shed management in Nepal.

Donald Gee: I was a World Food Prize Borlaug-Ruan Intern at the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development in Kathmandu, Nepal during the summer of 2019. However, my experience with the World Food Prize actually began when I was 7 years old when I met Dr. Norman Borlaug at a World Food Prize book signing in Des Moines, where I'm from. At ICIMD I was part of a research team that focused on improving spring shed management and reviving springs in the Kavre district of Nepal. Since the end of my internship, conclusions from our research have been implemented in the local municipality's strategic plans. As well, spring user groups have been formed and practices to increase spring output have started to take effect in the region. This experience opened my eyes to how impactful it can be when research and policy work together to make our world more sustainable. I now study civil engineering at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Georgia. Using technical knowledge, along with my interest in policy, I hope to be an expert in water at the intersection of cities and agriculture because we all live down river from someone, unless of course you get your water from a mountain spring near the top of the world in Nepal. But, even then, there are challenges.

The recipient of the 2020 Elaine Szymoniak Award is Andie Pinga of South Burlington, Vermont. She is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania and was stationed at the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai, India during her internship. She researched barriers preventing mothers with children under 2 years from consuming diverse diets.

Andie Pinga: It was an honor to have a small contribution to MSSRF as a Borlaug-Ruan Intern. The most valuable experience by far was being able to work in the field. It was easy for me to read about food insecurity and think about interventions at the comfort of my own desk, but being able to talk with the mothers and visit them at their homes allowed me to face their realities and also challenge the assumptions I held. They were really the heart of my project and I hope that future interventions can be formed by their voices. My time in India has most definitely framed my college experience and also my future goals. As I learn the practical tools and gain a deeper understanding of inequality in my college classes, I really can't wait for the next opportunity to be back in the field and to engage with different communities all around the world in our shared mission of ensuring a food secure future.

Stinson: Now we would like to proceed into our Laureate Award Presentation. First, we will offer the Laureate Proclamation. John Ruan, Janice and I are honored to be here with Iowa's Governor. During her time as Lieutenant Governor, she was a great friend to the World Food Prize and she has continued that interest and involvement as Iowa's first female Governor. She has been a leader in promoting STEM education and every year she has been with us at our Iowa Youth Institute, our Iowa Hunger Summit and our Laureate Awards Ceremony. So now, to issue the official Laureate Proclamation, it is my great privilege to introduce the 43rd Governor of Iowa, the Honorable Kim Reynolds.

Governor Kim Reynolds: On behalf of the people of Iowa, it's a privilege to extend our warmest welcome as this year we bring our state to you through this virtual presentation of the 2020 World Food Prize Laureate Ceremony. It's an absolute honor to share this historic chamber with you, the leaders in the fight against poverty and hunger, with distinguished international officials, government ministers, agribusiness executives, research scientists, farmers, teachers and high school students. It's truly an exceptional gathering of people from around the globe with a shared passion for eradicating hunger through innovation, education and empowerment.

Governor Reynolds: It is the same kind of disruptive thinking, status quo, challenging ingenuity that will move our nation forward beyond the immediate challenges of today to a brighter tomorrow. Whether that is a virus with unforeseen worldwide impact, or widespread natural disasters like droughts and derechos, it is this group of thought-leaders who understand the connected nature of all health, human, animal and environmental. Without one, there cannot be the other. That is at the very heart of the World Food Prize and it is at the foundation of Norman Borlaug's legacy. His vision for learning and scientific discovery are themes that echo through the Borlaug Dialogue, the Global Youth Institute and the Laureate we honor.

Governor Reynolds: When the World Food Prize moved to Iowa in 1990, it marked the beginning of a remarkable public-private partnership between our state, Iowa State University, agribusinesses and agricultural commodity groups. It was Dr. Borlaug and John Ruan Sr. who knew the prize would flourish where its roots run deep in the breadbasket of the world. And it was John Ruan and the Ruan family alongside Ambassador Quinn whose steady hands, helped it grow to international prominence. Today, they gave it a home at the beautiful Hall of Laureates and lifted the award to its rightful position in the world as the Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture.

Governor Reynolds: Looking to the future this legacy of excellence is held in great hands with President Barbara Stinson to position the World Food Prize for the next generation of global leaders in food insecurity. One of my favorite traditions at the World Food Prize is the mini youth institutes which bring together high school students with leaders on the front lines in the hunger fight, inspiring them to follow their passions and pursue college major and careers in agriculture sciences and technology.

Governor Reynolds: I want to congratulate all of the students being recognized today for their heart, leadership and spirit. You are the future of the World Food Prize and we are grateful for your unbridled passion. When World Food Prize Laureates are gathered together, in person or virtually, it represents one of the greatest collections of hunger fighting achievement in our history. And together, and today, we honor the 50th member of this group of individuals whose breakthrough innovations have lifted millions out of hunger, poverty and malnutrition. It is with great pleasure that I now proclaim Dr. Rattan Lal of India and the United States as the 2020 World Food Prize Laureate. Congratulations, Dr. Lal.

 

This year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of World Food Prize Foundation founder Dr. Norman Borlaug's receipt of the Nobel Prize with some historical perspective.

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In the mid-20th century, the threat of famine was knocking at South Asia's door. More than 3 million people died of hunger and malnutrition in India and Pakistan in the 1960s and the situation was expected to get worse. What no one expected was that a small town farm boy from Cresco, Iowa would bring these countries a lifesaving solution. Having overcome great resistance from farmers in Mexico to adopt his new agricultural techniques, Dr. Norman E. Borlaug faced the seemingly impossible task of convincing leaders of both India and Pakistan to embrace an entirely new approach to agriculture at a time when tensions between the two countries were at their highest.

Norman Borlaug: Someone asked me a year ago at a farmer's meeting what was the toughest wrestling match you were ever in, and I said it was talking with the President of Pakistan when they were starting and again a bit later to the Prime Minister of India. I said, the stage is set, the technology is there, it has been proven, it has been tested and now it's up to you. That was the biggest wrestling match I was ever in and you're standing there alone on the edge of the mat against the most powerful person in the country, and yet you have to have the courage in the right way, at the right time, to say it like it is.

With Dr. M.S. Swaminathan and other prominent researchers, Dr. Borlaug made his case for a new agricultural paradigm to senior political leaders of both countries. Both nations made the courageous decision to adopt Borlaug's breakthrough technology. This arrived just in time to prevent a human cata5strophe. By increasing crop yields in India and Pakistan four-fold, those formerly food deficit countries became self-sufficient in an amazingly short time, saving hundreds of millions of lives.

Dr. Borlaug's achievements in Mexico, India and Pakistan were hailed as a Green Revolution. For this achievement, Dr. Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 and Dr. Swaminathan was awarded the very first World Food Prize in 1987. Today, as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Dr. Borlaug's Nobel Prize, we award the 50th World Food Prize to a laureate who has extended the gains of the Green Revolution to the soil.

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Born in 1944 in West Punjab, Rattan Lal was a toddler when his family found themselves in newly-partitioned Pakistan, 15 years before Dr. Borlaug would bring the Green Revolution to the region. The young family had to leave their 9-acre farm and cross the border into India, eventually resettling as refugees in a small farming village north of Delhi where they had only 1.5 acres to cultivate. Even as a child, Lal was curious about soil. As the youngest in his family, he watched his father, brother and uncle plow the hard ground with oxen in very hot, dry summers where temperatures reached 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

His experience growing up as a refugee on a smallholder farm inspired him to study hard and continue his education in hopes of making a difference for his family. This first step in his study of soil health led to his discovery of the vital role soil plays in global food security. In 1959, Lal graduated at the top of his high school class, having studied sitting under a banyan tree outside a two-room schoolhouse. Dr. Lal's diploma was the first ever awarded in his family.

That same year, Lal received an academic scholarship to Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana where he decided to focus on soils. Lal's mentor and professor recognized his fortitude and encouraged Lal to continue at his own alma mater, The Ohio State University. After earning his Master's degree at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute in Delhi, Lal heeded his professor's advice.

In 1965, he boarded a plan for the first time and traveled more than 7,000 miles to Ohio to pursue his Ph.D. in soils. After graduating in 1968, Lal was approached by Dr. Herb Albrecht, the Director General of the newly-created International Institute of Tropical Agriculture or IITA. Dr. Albrecht asked for Lal's help to establish a soil physics laboratory in Nigeria. At IITA, Lal began to address the issue of soil erosion and degradation in sub-Saharan Africa. As Lal traveled around the world for his research, he found that smallholder farmers everywhere faced problems related to soil degradation, the same problems he had experienced as a child.

Low soil carbon and organic matter combined with harsh climates and nutrient-depleting farming practices posed a major barrier to researching the soil's productive potential. Based on his thorough analysis of the factors affecting soil degradation, Lal focused on building soil physical health and increasing the amount of organic matter contained in soil. He explored and transformed techniques such as no tillage, cover cropping, mulching and agriforestry that protected the soil from the elements, conserved water and returned nutrients, carbon and organic matter to the soil.

Lal shared his research and successful experimentation throughout the world, teaching scientists and farmers his soil-saving practices. He also received dozens of visiting scientists at his experimental plots in Nigeria, for training and collaboration to spread these techniques even further. In 1987, Lal returned to The Ohio State University eager to share the knowledge from his travels and research with IITA. Once there, he did not hesitate to tackle a new, even more difficult challenge. In the 1990s, Lal co-authored the first scientific report showing that restoring degraded soils through increasing soil carbon and organic matter not only improves soil health, but counteracts rising carbon dioxide levels by sequestering atmospheric carbon.

When his research was published in Science Magazine in 2004, it garnered worldwide attention. The idea that restoring the world's soils could combat climate change transformed the way the world saw soils. Three separate United Nations climate change conferences adopted Lal's strategy of restoring soil health as a means to sequestering carbon. In 2007, he was among those recognized with the Nobel Peace Prize certificate for his contributions to the intergovernmental panel on climate change reports. Lal established and assumed the role of Director of the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center in 2000 at The Ohio State University in order to continue to research and build awareness around the soil's importance to the Earth's climate.

Lal is now one of the most prolific agricultural scientists with more than 100,000 citations of his published work. Still, Lal recognizes the importance of translating science into action. Lal relentlessly sought to translate research into impact at the community and farmer level. He established strong communication channels with policy makers and visited 105 countries to promote the soil-centric approach to advancing food security.

Dr. Rattan Lal: I strongly believe the health of soil, plants, animals, people and ecosystems is one and indivisible.

Lal's research shows that growing crops on healthy soils produces more from less, more food with less land area, less agrichemicals, less tillage, less water and less energy. As soil also provides essential environmental services such as retaining rainwater, filtering pollutants and providing habitat for all manner of organisms, it is all the more important for societies to manage soils sustainably. Lal epitomizes Dr. Borlaug's philosophy that science is meaningless if it does not serve humanity.

For promoting innovative soil-saving techniques, benefiting the livelihoods of more than 500 million smallholder farmers, improving the food and nutritional security of more than 2 million people and saving hundreds of millions of hectares of natural tropical ecosystems, Dr. Rattan Lal truly deserves to be proclaimed the 2020 World Food Prize Laureate.

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Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the 2020 World Food Prize Laureate, Dr. Rattan Lal.

Dr. Rattan Lal: It is of great pride and honor for me to accept the 2020 World Food Prize Foundation's award on achieving global food and nutrition security by the soil-centric approach. For the Green Revolution of the '60s was a great success, the soil-centric approach ensures long-term sustainability of agricultural systems by reconciling the need for increased food production with the necessity of improving the environment. It is especially focused on restoring soil health and quality of water and air. For this I am grateful to the World Food Prize Foundation, The Ohio State University and my family. In addition to climate change and the risks of soil degradation, the COVID-19 pandemic has also aggravated the daunting challenge of achieving food security and realizing the sustainable development goals of the United Nation. The COVID-19 pandemic may add an additional 80 to 130 million to 690 million already prone to malnutrition during 2020. In addition, 2 billion people are malnourished due to lack of micronutrients and deficiency of protein. The current and future increase in -- may reduce the economic stable crops, increase demand for irrigation water and other imports and risks of soil degradation through increases in --

Dr. Rattan Lal: The 2020 World Food Prize award to me is a recognition of the importance of protecting and restoring health of the finite and fragile soil resources through sequestration of soil carbon by the introduction of conservation effective measures. It is a strong need for a paradigm shift toward making agriculture an integral part of the solution and empowering farmers and land managers to produce more and more from less and less by reducing waste, enhancing efficiency, restoring degraded soils, and saving soil and water for nature. In addition, respectability of the agriculture profession must also be enhanced. The importance of soil, plant, animal, human and environment can never be more emphasized. It is not a question of either/or. We must have both. It is critical to minimize our dependence on agrichemicals. As Mahatma Gandhi advised, to forget how to dig the Earth and to tend the soil is in fact to forget ourselves. Therefore it to adopt a concept of -- for producing more from less, less land, less agrichemicals, less irrigation of water and less energy used so that we can save resources for nature.

Dr. Rattan Lal: I thank you, the World Food Prize Foundation, and The Ohio State University, for the honor.

Stinson: And now we move to our tradition of celebration through entertainment, which has been kept secret from our Laureate. When we learned of Dr. Lal's passion and love for Sufi music, we wanted to feature one of the most renowned singers in the world. When we contacted this musician, he was thrilled to be part of the celebration and to recognize Dr. Lal. This musician that we have with us tonight is nicknamed Isai Puyal, the musical storm and he is also called the Mozart of Madras. You may have heard his music from the movie Slumdog Millionaire, which earned him Best Original Score and Best Original Song at the 81st Academy Awards. He is a highly acclaimed Indian composer, a singer and a musical producer. Among his many entertainment awards are two Academy Awards, two Grammys and a Golden Globe. It is my great honor and privilege to welcome to our virtual stage, performing the song Kun Faya Kun from the Bollywood movie, Rockstar, the internationally renowned Allahrakha Rahman, also known as A. R. Rahman.

A. R. Rahman: Well, hello to all. This is A. R. Rahman and I am honored to be a part of the ceremony. To everyone watching around the world to honor Dr. Rattan Lal, the 2020 World Food Prize Laureate, for his instrumental contribution to global health and nutrition. Dr. Lal is an exceptional individual whose work as a soil scientist has benefited the livelihoods of more than 500 million farmers, while improving the food and nutritional security of more than 2 billion people, I'm pleased to be here to honor and outstanding figure and perform a very special piece of my work. I present to you, Kun Faya Kun, a tribute to an enduring spirit of humanity.

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Ya Nizamuddin Auliya.

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Ya Nizamuddin Sarkar.

Ya Nizamuddin.

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Kadam badha le.

Haddon ko mita le.

Aaja khalipan mein pee ka ghar tera.

Tere bin khali aaja khalipan mein.

Tere bin khali aaja khalipan mein.

Ooo...

Ooo...

Ooo...

Rangreza.

Rangreza.

Rangreza.

Rangreza.

Rangreza.

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Kun fayakun Kun fayakun fayakun.

Fayakun fayakun fayakun.

Kun fayakun Kun fayakun fayakun.

Fayakun fayakun fayakun.

Jab kahin pe kuch nahi bhi nahi tha. 

Wahi tha Wahi tha Wahi tha Wahi tha.

Jab kahin pe kuch nahi bhi nahi tha.

Wahi tha Wahi tha Wahi tha Wahi tha.

Woh jo mujh me samaya woh jo tujh me samaya.

Maula wahi wahi maaya.

Woh jo mujh me samaya woh jo tujh me samaya.

Maula wahi wahi maaya.

Kun fayakun Kun fayakun.

Sadq allahu ali ul azeem.  

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(music)

Rangreza rang mera tann mera mann.

Le le rangaai chahe tann chahe mann.

Rangreza rang mera tann mera mann.

Le le rangaai chahe tann chahe mann.

Sajra savera mere tann barse.

Kajra andhera teri jalti lau.

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Sajra savera mere tann barse.

Kajra andhera teri jalti lau.

Qatra mila jo tere darr barse.

O Maulaa... 

Maulaa...

Kun fayakun Kun fayakun.

Kun fayakun Kun fayakun.

Fayakun Kun fayakun fayakun.

Fayakun fayakun fayakun. 

Ahh...

Kun fayakun Kun fayakun fayakun.

Fayakun fayakun fayakun.

Ahh...

Jab kahin pe kuch nahi bhi nahi tha.

Wahi tha Wahi tha Wahi tha Wahi tha.

Jab kahin pe kuch nahi bhi nahi tha.

Wahi tha Wahi tha Wahi tha Wahi tha.

Kun fayakun Kun fayakun.

Sadq allahu ali ul azeem.

Sadaqa-Rosooluh-ul-Nabi-ul-Kareem.

SalAllah hu alayhi wasallam.

SalAllah hu alayhi wasallam.

Ho mujh pe karam sarkar tera.

Araj tujhe kar de mujhe. 

Mujhse hi riha.

Ab mujhko bhi ho deedar mera.

Kar de mujhe mujh se hi riha.

Mujh se hi rihaaa...

Mujh se hi rihaaa...

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Mann ke mere ye bharam.

Kachche mere ye karam.

Leke chale hain kahaan main to jaanu hi na.

Tu hai mujh mein samaaya kahaan leke mujhe aaya.

Main hoon tujh mein samaaya

Tere peechhe chala aaya.

Tera hi main ik saaya. 

Tune mujhko banaya.

Main tto jag ko naa bhaya.

Tune gale se lagaya.

Haq tu hi hai khudaya.

Sach tu hi hai khudaya.

Ahh...

Kun fayakun Kun fayakun fayakun.

Fayakun fayakun fayakun. 

Kun fayakun Kun fayakun fayakun.

Fayakun fayakun fayakun.

Jab kahin pe kuch nahi bhi nahi tha.

Wahi tha Wahi tha Wahi tha Wahi tha.

Jab kahin pe kuch nahi bhi nahi tha.

Wahi tha Wahi tha Wahi tha Wahi tha. 

Kun fayakun Kun fayakun.

Sadq allahu ali ul azeem. 

Sadaqa-Rosooluh-ul-Nabi-ul-Kareem. 

SalAllah hu alayhi wasallam.

SalAllah hu alayhi wasallam.

SalAllah hu alayhi wasallam.

SalAllah hu alayhi wasallam.

 

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Stinson: To everyone around the world watching this broadcast, thank you. Congratulations to Dr. Rattan Lal, the 2020 World Food Prize Laureate.

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  Funding for the 2020 World Food Prize has been provided by, Friends, the Iowa PBS Foundation. And a grant from the W.T. & Edna M. Dahl Trust.