Olam looking for research that may change the world
“Despite being a global agribusiness, we don’t have all the answers as to how we are going to feed more than 1 billion extra people by 2030,” said Sunny Verghese, co-founder and group chief executive officer of Olam. “But there are research teams across the world who are uncovering new insights and techniques every day. Through this prize we hope to support and scale-up a breakthrough innovation that will ultimately prevent people going to bed hungry without depleting our natural resources.”
The winning research project will receive $50,000 in unrestricted funding to support its further development. Additionally, the winners will be able to work with Olam to develop the practical application of their innovation.
The contest is open to academic or research institutions, civil society organizations and the private sector.
The winner of the inaugural Olam International Prize for Innovation in Food Security in 2015 was SRI International Network and Resources Center (SRI-Rice). The group was recognized for its work on the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), an innovation that enhances productivity of rice paddy, water conservation, livelihoods, soil health and crop resilience to climate stress. SRI-Rice has used proceeds from the Olam Prize to further develop an international network that connects researchers in 45 countries to share learning, access research papers and collaborate across borders.
“SRI is a great example of an innovation taken up at the grassroots-level achieving scale,” said Pascal Kosuth, director of the Agropolis Foundation and a member of the jury of both the Olam Prize and Louis Malassis International Scientific Prizes for Agriculture and Food. “Awarding the Olam Prize to the SRI effort is a fitting tribute to an initiative that is having an impact on the quality and quantity of this staple food crop grown by small-scale farmers around the world. Now the search begins for the next crop of scientists doing ground-breaking research in this field and who could be deserving of the prize.”