Bihana Didi wins Norman Borlaug award
Agriculture scientist Swati Nayak, known as Bihana Didi in Odisha, has been awarded the Norman Borlaug Award
What is the Norman Borlaug Award?
- Young scientists who have made important contributions to agriculture, food security, and the eradication of hunger under the age of 40 are honoured with the Norman Borlaug Award each year. The honour bears Dr. Norman Borlaug’s name; he is known as the “Father of the Green Revolution” and a Nobel laureate. The Rockefeller Foundation endowed the award, which was created in 2011.
- Dr Swati Nayak, the South Asia Lead for Seed System and Product Management at the IRRI in New Delhi, will receive the Norman Borlaug Award in 2023. Millions of women farmers have profited from her work.
- The prize was established in 1972. In 1970, Borlaug received the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his lifetime efforts to end world hunger. In addition, he was awarded the National Medal of Science, the Public Welfare Medal, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Who is Swati Nayak and what are her contributions to the field of Agriculture?
- Agriculture Scientist: Swati Nayak is a recognized expert in the field who works closely with farmers in Odisha’s tribal areas. Due to her significant involvement with farmers, she is lovingly known as “Bihana Didi” or the “Seed Lady” among the local people.
- Rice Variety Introduction: Swati Nayak’s effort in bringing the drought-tolerant Shahabhagi Dhan rice variety to Odisha is one of her most remarkable accomplishments. In rain-fed regions, where drought can significantly reduce crop output, this rice variety has shown to be a game-changer. The introduction of this cultivar helped local farmers make a living because it became an essential component of their diet and crop rotation.
- Innovative Approach: Swati Nayak is commended for her creative methods for including smallholder farmers in rice seed systems that are driven by market demand. Her work entails not only creating nutrient-rich and climate-resilient rice varieties but also making sure that farmers can obtain and use them. The practical requirements of nearby agricultural communities are met by this strategy.
- Commitment to the Extension Ecosystem: Ms. Nayak recognizes the value of the extension ecosystem, which links scholarly work with practical farming methods. She has dedicated her prize to the entire ecosystem of extension, highlighting the crucial part it plays in converting laboratory findings into practical agricultural advancements.
- International Rice Research Institute (IRRI): Swati Nayak has a connection to the IRRI and has worked out of their Delhi office since 2013. She now has a platform through this association to work with professionals and enhance techniques for growing rice.
- Recognition: Swati Nayak has received the renowned Norman E. Borlaug Award for 2023 in recognition of her commitment to and services to agriculture. The significance of her work is highlighted by the fact that she is only the third Indian agriculture scientist to get this honour.