Sanchez, professor emeritus, wins prestigious World Food Prize
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Sanchez, professor emeritus,
wins prestigious World Food Prize

Dr. Pedro Sanchez (Photo courtesy UC Berkeley)

Dr. Pedro Sanchez, professor emeritus of soil science at N.C. State University, has been selected to receive the $250,000 World Food Prize for 2002.

Sanchez was cited for ground-breaking contributions to reducing hunger and malnutrition throughout the developing world by transforming depleted tropical soils into productive agricultural lands.

Kenneth M. Quinn, World Food Prize Foundation president and former U.S. ambassador to Cambodia, announced Sanchez’s selection at the International Horticultural Congress in Toronto, Canada, on Aug. 11. Quinn noted that it appears that this is the highest scientific honor ever presented to a Cuban native.

Quinn added, “Dr. Sanchez is also being honored for having played a critical role in establishing real alternatives to slash-and-burn farming, which has destroyed millions of acres of rainforest, as well as his work in driving the international effort to establish agroforestry as a means of mitigating global warming, by removing millions of tons of CO2 from the air.”

Since the 1960s, Sanchez has helped improve food security in Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia. A graduate of Cornell University, Sanchez served as a soil scientist with N.C. State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences from 1968 to 1991. From 1991 to 2001, he was director general of the International Center for Research in Agroforestry in Nairobi, Kenya. ICRAF is a Future Harvest center of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research. Since 2001, he has been a visiting professor of tropical resources at the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. George Wilson, N.C. State’s vice provost for international affairs, said that the World Food Prize is the foremost award for improving the quality, quantity and availability of food.

“Pedro Sanchez’s influence in international agriculture began while he was a faculty member at N.C. State, working on research and extension programs that began in Peru in the 1950s. Through these programs, Pedro was instrumental in helping Peru dramatically improve its national food security, achieving self-sufficiency in rice production within three years and achieving among the highest rice yields in the world,” said Wilson, who worked with Sanchez in Peru in the early 1980s.

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and World Food Prize founder Dr. Norman Borlaug remarked that Sanchez’s achievement gives hope that the Green Revolution can finally be extended to Africa.

Dr. Sanchez receives the World Food Prize in Ames, Iowa, during the World Food Prize International Symposium at the end of October.

— Dee Shore


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