Fertilizer award winner is a micronutrient advocate

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Abdul Rashid, Ph.D., of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences, Islamabad, is the 2013 laureate of the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA) Norman Borlaug Award. He is the 21st recipient of the award.

Rashid is a highly accomplished crop nutritionist and a distinguished soil fertility expert. His 40-year career has been devoted to well-conceived research programs for optimizing crop nutrition through balanced and efficient fertilizer use, applicable to the world’s calcareous soils.

While Rashid has worked extensively in the broad area of cost-effective fertilizer use, his career has largely been defined by his work on micronutrients, soil testing and plant analysis. His many outstanding contributions include the identification, establishment and correction of field-scale boron deficiency in 2 million hectares of flooded rice fields and 3 million hectares of cotton grown on calcareous soils in Pakistan. His work on soil testing and plant analysis has been the basis for rational use of fertilizers in Pakistan and many other developing countries.

Rashid’s research outcomes have been published widely. His research-based technologies have been promoted effectively through field demonstrations in collaboration with the fertilizer industry, as well as through local-language brochures and magazine articles. His monograph, Soil Science, which consolidates contemporary knowledge on soil properties and processes, has proved to be an excellent textbook in Pakistan. Rashid’s persistent research and development activities and convincing advocacy have created a “pull force” for the use of micronutrient fertilizers in that country. Through the HarvestZinc Fertilizer Project, he is contributing to combating micronutrient malnutrition through staple cereal biofortification.

Rashid’s farmer-friendly fertilizer use technologies, which have been recommended and adapted in Pakistan, include: (i) boron use in rice; (ii) boron and zinc use in cotton; (iii) zinc-enriched rice nurseries; and (iv) 50 percent fertilizer-saving phosphate band placement in wheat.

Rashid obtained his doctorate in soil science from the University of Hawaii in the United States, after winning an East-West Center scholarship in 1986. His undergraduate and master’s degrees in soil science (1970 and 1972) were obtained from the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad, Pakistan.

 


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