CIMMYT Board member and Professor at Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey, Ismail Çakmak, has received the prestigious 2007 Derek Tribe Award of Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) Crawford Fund, in recognition of his outstanding work and leadership in identifying zinc deficiency as the underlying cause of poor wheat yields in the calcareous soils of the Central Anatolia in Turkey. The award announcement appears on the 29 June 2007 update of the ATSE-Crawford Fund website.
Çakmak’s research led to the rapid uptake of Zn-containing NP and NPK fertilizers (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) by farmers in the region and their development by fertilizer industries. Use of the enhanced fertilizers rose from nothing in 1995 to a record 350,000 tons per annum in Turkey in recent times. In some locations with extremely low plant-available zinc, their use has raised grain yields six-fold. In addition to boosting cereal productivity and farmers’ profits, the fertilizers improve zinc density in the grain, which should better the health, productivity, and mental development of members of resource-poor farm households who depend heavily on wheat in their diets.
The ATSE Crawford Fund Derek Tribe Award was inaugurated in 2001 to mark the outstanding contributions of Emeritus Professor Derek Tribe, founding director of the Crawford Fund, to the promotion of international agricultural research. The award is made biennially to a citizen of a developing country in recognition of distinguished contributions to the application of research in agriculture or natural resource management in a developing country or countries. The recipient of the inaugural 2001 Crawford Fund Derek Tribe Award was Sanjaya Rajaram, former Director of the CIMMYT Wheat Program.