Professor Baldwyn Torto, Principal Scientist and Head, Behavioural and Chemical Ecology (BCEU) at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), Kenya, and a member of SCI’s Pest Management Science Editorial Board, has been awarded the 2019 Agropolis Louis Malassis International Prize for Food and Agriculture, under the Outstanding Career in Agricultural Development category.
Created in 2009, this highly prestigious Prize recognises exemplary achievements by scientists, while also inspiring young, promising researchers to work towards excellent science in the service of society.
Specifically, the Career in Agricultural Development category is conferred to remarkable professionals in the field of agriculture and food research, innovation, capacity building, development or policy
Professor Torto has been recognised for his outstanding contributions to the understanding of how pests and beneficial organisms in agriculture use chemistry for their ecology, and application of this knowledge for crop protection to ensure food security in Africa within the framework of ‘One Health’ (agriculture, environment and human health).
The Prize also recognises Professor Torto’s immense contribution, in collaboration with various partners, to the training of the next generation of scientists in Africa.
‘icipe is extremely gratified by the recognition of Professor Torto, and we affirm his enhancement of the Centre’s mission and vision of food security, better health and holistic development in Africa and beyond. His research has impacted on the livelihoods of thousands of small-scale farmers and other end-users,’ stated Director General, Dr Segenet Kelemu.
She added: ‘Professor Torto’s portfolio of solutions for insects is extensive, encompassing a range of crop pests, vectors that transmit diseases in people and animals, as well as useful species like the honeybee, a vital pollinator responsible for most crops we grow and food that we eat,’ she continued.
‘His discoveries have had a profound impact in his area of specialisation, chemical ecology, and diverse scientific fields, while supporting Africa’s capacity and leadership in global knowledge production.’
On receiving this award, Professor Torto said: ‘I feel truly honoured, humbled and grateful that the Agropolis Foundation has selected me for this prestigious global award.
‘I appreciate the immense support of the icipe management and leadership, tremendous contributions from students, staff, dedicated partners, and more importantly, continued cooperation of small-scale farmers leading to this award.’
About the honouree
A Ghanaian national, Professor Torto was the first PhD student to be trained in chemical ecology (1985 –1988) by the eminent scientist, Professor Ahmed Hassanali, under the icipe African Regional Postgraduate Programme in Insect Science (ARPPIS) programme.
He had previously earned BSc and MSc degrees from the University of Ghana. Overall, Professor Torto has served icipe for close to 24 years, interspersed with postdoctoral training at the University of Maine, Orono, US, and at Rothamsted Research, UK; and a six-year stint as a researcher at the United States Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Services (USDA/ARS)– Centre for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, Gainesville, Florida, US.