Dr. Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted of Trinidad and Tobago cops the World Food Prize 2021 award. Dr. Thilsted is a global nutrition expert. She has won the prize for her ground-breaking research in developing holistic, nutrition-sensitive approaches to aquaculture and food systems.
Dr. Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted is a resident of Denmark and was born in Trinidad and Tobago. Her family are descendants of Indian families brought there as agricultural labourers. As a young girl, Dr. Shakuntala would observe her grandmother’s cooking and appreciate the nuances of its impact on health. She started her career as the first and only woman in the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries on the island of Tobago.
Thilsted’s work helped in nourishing hundreds of millions of people who depend on fish and other aquatic foods as an integral part of their food security, livelihoods and culture. Dr. Shakuntala drove transformations in aquatic food systems to deliver improved nutrition, resilient ecosystems and secure livelihoods for millions of vulnerable people across the globe.
Talking about her win, she said, “I am truly honoured to receive the 2021 World Food Prize, and I am deeply humbled to be placed in such distinguished ranks as those of past laureates. Aside from personal joy and gratitude, as a scientist, I feel this award is an important recognition of the essential but often overlooked role of fish and aquatic food systems in agricultural research for development. Fish and aquatic foods offer life-changing opportunities for millions of vulnerable women, children, and men to be healthy and well-nourished,” said Thilsted in the official press release.