Dr Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted, a global nutrition expert of Indian descent, has won the prestigious 2021 World Food Prize for her ground-breaking research in developing holistic, nutrition-sensitive approaches to aquaculture and food systems.
Thilsted’s research was based on small native fish species found in Bangladesh and how they can help in the development of a nutritional approach to aquatic food systems. The research encompasses the entire gamut from farming to food processing to final consumers, resulting in improved diets for millions of the most vulnerable people living in Asia and Africa.
The scientist opined that everyone has overlooked the role of fish and aquatic food systems in agriculture. According to her research, fish and aquatic foods can offer life-changing opportunities for millions of vulnerable women, children, and men to be healthy and well nourished.
Thilsted’s organisations Global Lead for Nutrition and Public Health & World Fish have worked together and drove transformations in aquatic food systems to deliver improved nutrition, resilient ecosystems and secure livelihoods for millions of vulnerable people across the world.
The core of the award-winning research is basically on nutrition-sensitive approaches placing nutrition and public health and how nutritive food can be produced, processed, transported, priced, distributed and consumed.
Thilsted has highlighted the evolution of food systems from “feeding” to “nourishing” hundreds of millions of people who depend on fish and other aquatic foods as an integral part of their food and nutrition security, livelihoods and culture.
Thilsted, is a native of Trinidad and Tobago and a citizen of Denmark. She was born in 1949 at a small village named Reform on the Caribbean island of Trinidad. Thilsted and her family are descendants of Indian Hindu migrants who went to Trinidad to engage in agricultural labour.