Winners of Louis Malassis and Olam Prizes Announced in Montpellier

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The 2015 winners of the prestigious Louis Malassis International Scientific Prize and inaugural Olam Prize for Innovation in Food Security were announced at the Third Global Science Conference in Montpellier on Monday.

The first prize of the evening, the inaugural Olam Prize for Innovation in Food Security went to the SRI International Network and Resources Center at Cornell University, for its work on the method of Systems for Rice Intensification (SRI). SRI was developed in Madagascar 30 years ago by Henri Laulanié and is now spreading around the world. SRI methods have been shown to increase rice yields by 20 to 50%, often 100% and even more, with 25-50% reductions in water and 80-90% less seed.

Professor Uphoff, who accepted the prize on behalf of the SRI-Rice International Network told Farming First he would like to use to prize to gather the best scientists to assess work relating to SRI. “We think if we pursue this we are going to get a very solid understanding of how to make better use of our resources for rice, maize, wheat, sugarcane and many other crops,” he said.

The Louis Malssis International Scientific Prize for Young Promising Scientist went to Dr. Kazuki Saito, leader of the Africa-wide Rice Agronomy Task Force, based at AfricaRice.

“I have been awarded this prize for my work with promising technologies,” comments Dr. Saito. “They are still promising, like me, so we really need to disseminate this technologies to farmers on a large scale. My dream is to help produce more rice in Africa and at the end, export rice to Asia!”

The Louis Malssis International Scientific Prize for Distinguished Scientist went to Dr. Claire Lanaud, for her work on improving cocoa varieties. “This award is for us, a recognition of all the work we have done with our partners – it reinforces or scientific choice and is an encouragement to continue our effort to improve the living conditions of smallholder farmers,” Dr. Lanaud told Farming First.

The final prize of the evening, the Louis Malassis International Scientific Prize for Outstanding Career in Agriculture went to Professor Zeyaur Khan, for his work on the push-pull technology for combating pests and diseases. “I feel greatly honoured to receive this prize, it is one of the most prestigious prizes in agriculture,” said Professor Khan. He also told Farming First that it is his goal to reach one million households with push-pull technology by 2020, making 10 million people food secure.

Farming First attended as media partner, and captured the highlights from the ceremony. For more videos on each of the winners, visit Farming First TV.