Renowned agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathan, known as the father of India’s Green Revolution, passed away in Chennai on September 28, at the age of 98.
Swaminathan was the principal architect of a reform in the agricultural sector in India that started in the 1960s. When droughts in 1965 and 1966 impacted agriculture and caused a food crisis in the country, many international experts predicted a situation of mass starvation. In the years that followed, Swaminathan, with scientific innovation and administrative skills, changed India’s agricultural trajectory and turned India from a mass importer to a self-sufficient nation in food grain production.
Swaminathan supported the agricultural industry by identifying and promoting high-yielding seeds. He also led the committee that recommended the minimum support price for farmers be 50% of the weighted average cost of production. Swaminathan was awarded the first World Food Prize, a Padma Vibhushan and the Ramon Magsaysay award, among many other national and international awards for leading India’s Green Revolution.
Talking to Mongabay India, agro-economist Devinder Sharma says that it is the end of an era. “The Green Revolution of India was the biggest achievement of the country in the 20th century. Several projections were made about India failing to feed its people. But the Green Revolution thwarted all these predictions. Swaminathan’s ability to lead the scientific community, along with ensuring the right kind of policy is framed to boost production, has delivered and ensured food security for millions of people,” he said.
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