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IFA Science Awards Winner
06 Mar 2013

Abdul Rashid

Dr. Abdul Rashid (Pakistan Academy of Sciences, Islamabad) is a highly accomplished crop nutritionist and a distinguished soil fertility expert. His 40-year career has been devoted to well-conceived research programmes for optimizing crop nutrition through balanced and efficient fertilizer use, applicable to the world’s calcareous soils.

While Dr. 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.

Dr. Rashid’s research outcomes have been published – nationally and internationally – in peer-reviewed journals and books, at conferences, and using other advisory materials. 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 a superb textbook in Pakistan. Dr. 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.

Dr 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.

Dr. Rashid has been editor-in-chief of the journal of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences and has served on the editorial board of theThe European Journal of Agronomy and Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis. He has also been the Director General of Pakistan’s National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC) and Chief Scientist of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. He is a Fellow of the Indian Society of Soil Science and the Soil Science Society of Pakistan, of which he was elected President. Dr. Rashid has received numerous national honours and international awards. He was a Crawford Fund Fellow at Australia’s CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) Land and Water, and an International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) visiting scientist in Syria.

Dr Rashid obtained his PhD 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.