Global Soil Partnership

Dr Ashok Kumar Patra wins the Glinka World Soil Prize 2022

Renowned scientist from the ICAR-Indian Institute of Soil Science (IISS) in Bhopal rewarded for his 33-year dedicated career in Soil Science Research and Education

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The Glinka World Soil Prize is named after Konstantin Glinka, an eminent Russian soil scientist known for his work on the geographical distribution of soils. The prize honours distinguished individuals or organizations that promote sustainable soil management and the protection of soil resources, which have a direct impact on people’ well-being.  This year's seventh Glinka Prize is awarded to Dr. Ashok Kumar Patra, described as "an outstanding soil scientist and a strong advocate of sustainable soil management in India and worldwide". Throughout his career spanning thirty-three years of research, education, and extension, he has contributed to over 350 publications and participated in various national and international events. He has made significant contributions to the improvement of food and nutritional security through integrated nutrient management and has addressed the emerging challenges of soil resource, sustainable management and biodiversity while uplifting the research standards of the Institute (ICAR-IISS) to the global level.

Dr Patra comes from a farming family and has dedicated much of his career to improving soil nutrient management in his home country, India.He was instrumental in developing the Mridaparikshak Mini Soil Laboratory, which has provided soil testing and fertilizer recommendations to millions of Indian farmers. His research has been critical in understanding nutrient cycling, the effect of long-term fertilizer applications on India's major soils thus leading to improved nitrogen management and reduced inputs, with a clear focus on sustainable fertilizer management.

In his capacity as Director of ICAR-IISS, a Member of the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (FAO/GSP), President of Indian Society of Soil Science and Fellow of national academies, he has contributed to the development of numerous documents, guidelines and standard operating procedures at national and international levels. In addition, he has worked to generate public interest in soil science through awareness campaigns, demonstrations and exhibitions of soil technologies, presentations on radio and television programs, and writing blogs and journal articles. Under his leadership, ICAR-IISS received the King Bhumibol World Soil Day award in 2020.

Dr Patra has a distinguished record of leadership, having led numerous projects to advance sustainable soil management. These include the development of rapid composting techniques, GIS-based soil fertility maps, and the use of soil spectroscopy to generate large databases of soil information needed for decisionmaking. During his term as Director of ICAR - IISS, he expanded the network by opening new cooperating centers in various projects, and guided hundreds of students, ressearch scholars, young scientists and large farming community. In all his work and engagements, Dr. Patra’s continuously strives to identify and remove barriers and create favorable socio-economic and institutional conditions to promote sustainable soil management.    

The Glinka World Soil Prize, launched in 2016, rewards eligible candidates who contribute to raise awareness and bring possible solutions to confront acute problems of soil degradation. It encourages and recognizes field-oriented work directly contributing to preserve soils and increase food security. 

Former winners of the Glinka World Soil Prize include Instituto Geografico Augustin kingCodazzi (IGAC from Colombia) in 2016, Argentine No Till Farmers Association (Aapresid from Argentina) in 2017, Professor Rattan Lal (USA) in 2018, Dr Xu Minggang (China) in 2019, in 2020 Dr Luca Montanarella (JRC/European Commission), and in 2021 Ms Lydie-Stella Koutika (The Republic of the Congo).

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