Pedro Sanchez

Pedro Sanchez
Director and Senior Research Scholar
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Pedro A. Sanchez is Director of the Agriculture and Food Security Center and Senior Research Scholar at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. He served as Director General of the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya from 1991-2001, as co-chair of the United Nations Millennium Project Hunger Task Force from 2002 – 2005, and as director of the Millennium Villages Project from 2004 – 2010. Sanchez is Professor Emeritus of Soil Science and Forestry at North Carolina State University where he was in the faculty from 1968-1991 leading the Tropical Soils Research Program. He has lived in the Philippines, Peru, Colombia and Kenya, and supervised research programs in over 25 countries in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Africa. has written successful books on tropical soil science and hunger, serves on many boards, has received three honorary degrees and decorations from universities and governments. Sanchez was anointed Chief by the Luo in western Kenya with the name of Odera Akang’o, and by the Ikaram of southern Nigeria with the name of Atunluse. He is the 2002 World Food Prize laureate, a 2004 MacArthur Fellow, and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008 and to the National Academy of Sciences in 2012. The Academy President Ralph Cicerone read a two sentence summary of the reason why each new member was elected. His read: “Sanchez has led path-breaking research on soil management for improved food production in the tropical world. His work has influenced research in agronomy, ecology, and changed the way technology is used to increase food production.”

Research interests include:

  • How tropical soils can be managed for increased food production while conserving the environment

Key publications:

Sanchez P.A. 1977. Properties and management of Soils in the Tropics. Wiley, 618p. (Second edition in progress now).

Sanchez P.A. 2010. Tripling crop yields in tropical Africa. Nature Geoscience 3: 299 – 300.

Sanchez P.A., Ahamed S., Carré F., Hartemink A. E., Hempel J., Huising J., Lagacherie P., McBratney A.B., McKenzie N. J., Mendonça-Santos M. l., Minasny B., Montanarella L., Okoth P., Palm C. A., Sachs J. D., Shepherd K. D., Vågen T-G., Vanlauwe B., Walsh M. G., Winowiecki L.A., Zhang G-L. 2009. Digital soil map of the world. Science 325: 680 – 681.

Sanchez P.A. 2009. A smarter way to combat hunger. Nature 458: 148.

Palm, C.A., Sanchez P. A., Ahamed S., Awiti A. Soils: A contemporary perspective. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 32: 99 – 121. 2007.

Sanchez, P.A. and Swaminathan M.S. 2005. Hunger in Africa: the link between unhealthy people and unhealthy soils. The Lancet. 365: 442-444.