A Malayali researcher has bagged the prestigious Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation, instituted by UAE government. He bagged a purse of Dh 1 million (₹1.75 crore)  for his work that benefited the date palm industry. 

Binu Antony of Thodupuzha, who hails from Thodupuzha is working as an assistant professor at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia. He was chosen from around 200 participants from 37 countries. He won first prize in the category of ‘distinguished, innovative studies and modern technology.’ Antony has already earned a fellowship of Royal Entomological Society of London for his researches on date palms. 

The award was instituted by UAE President Sheikh Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in 2007, to recognise individuals and organisations for their outstanding contribution to agriculture sector that will benefit Gulf countries. 

Antony dedicated the award to everyone working in date palm sector and thanked his University for providing the facilities for conducting his research. He started his teaching career at the Central University of Kerala, as an assistant professor and later worked as an entomologist in Assam Tea Research Association. Antony had also served as a post-doctoral researcher at Sweden’s Lund University and later at the University of Tokyo. During his tenure at King Saud University, he had worked in functional gene expression and molecular characterization and development of a viable trapping system for date manufacturers in Saudi Arabia. 

The award is given for contributions made in five areas namely – distinguished, innovative studies and modern technology, distinguished producers in date palm sector, pioneering development and productive projects, influential figure in the field of date palm and agricultural innovation and pioneering and sophisticated innovations serving agricultural sector.