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The World Food Prize Honors Rattan Lal as the 2020 World Food Prize Laureate


Rattan Lal was awarded the 2020 World Food Prize in a virtual award ceremony this morning. The annual Laureate Award Ceremony rivals that of the Nobel Prize, often drawing over 800 people from more than 50 countries and is traditionally held in the Iowa State Capitol building. This year, due to the global pandemic, this event and the rest of the annual World Food Prize Week is being conducted virtually.

The 2020 World Food Prize was formally awarded to Rattan Lal of India and the United States during a ceremony which took place during the 2020 Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium. This year, the theme is, “Breaking New Ground: Building Resilience Today for Improved Global Food Systems Tomorrow.”

“The 2020 World Food Prize award to me is recognition of the importance of protecting and restoring health of the finite and fragile soil resources through sequestration of soil organic carbon by adoption of conservation-effective measures,” says Lal.

Over his career spanning more than five decades and four continents, Lal 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.

Each year, world-class performers take the stage to honor the World Food Prize Laureate. Past performers have included Ray Charles, John Denver, Chachi Tadesse, Leslie Odom Jr. and Kathak Gunjan. This year was no different as the event featured a virtual appearance by A.R. Rahman: a highly-acclaimed Indian composer, singer and music producer. Among his many international awards are two Academy Awards, two Grammys and a Golden Globe. 

Lal was announced as the recipient of the Prize on June 11, 2020. He was awarded the Prize for developing and mainstreaming a soil-centric approach to increasing food production that conserves natural resources and mitigates climate change.

You can watch the ceremony from this morning at and the recording will be made available later today on the Foundation’s YouTube page: