16th August 2013, New Delhi
Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, Chairman, M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) inaugurated ‘The 50 PACT’- an event to celebrate 50 years of Dr. Norman E. Borlaug’s first visit to India- at NASC complex here today.
In his inaugural address, Dr. Swaminathan highlighted the journey of Indian agriculture from catastrophic famine of Bengal during pre-independence era to the current ‘Right of Food’ from country grown grains. We could achieve this remarkable feat despite tremendous increase in population and several challenges. He remembered the First Green Revolution during 1960s led by technology and duly supported by public policies. Dr. Swaminathan said that there is no time to relax as per capita availability of agricultural land and water resources are shrinking. Climate change and reluctance of youth to take up agriculture are further aggravating the situation. He emphasized upon the need of evergreen revolution by mainstreaming ecology, technological development and dissemination. He also remembered and paid tribute to Dr. Borlaug and said that his life and work is the message to the world. On this occasion, Dr. Swaminathan was honored by Dr. Norman Borlaug Award.
Dr. Thomas A. Lumpkin, Director General, CIMMYT (USA) appreciated long association of CIMMYT with India and highlighted the need to grow more food for more population from the same area of land to maintain the food security in India and the neighboring countries. He also emphasized upon to harness new technologies, such as biotechnology, precision agriculture and mobile based decision support systems to increase the production of food grains. Dr. Lumpkin hoped that association of CIMMYT with ICAR will go a long way in alleviating the hunger from the South Asian region.
Ms. Jeanie Laube-Borlaug, Chairperson of BGRI and daughter of Dr. Norman Borlaug expressed her happiness on participating in this event and remembered the association of Dr. Borlaug with India and Indian farmers. She said that to advance Dr. Borlaug’s legacy and vision to alleviate hunger in the most sustainable and nutritious way, my father would urge us to harness all the tools of biotechnology that we have before us. Ms. Borlaug said that her father was a frequent visitor to India and she also loves to visit this place time and again. Borlaug Institute for South Asia (BISA) will be instrumental in realizing the dreams of my father, she added.
Dr. R.S. Paroda, Chairman, TAAS; Dr. M.V. Rao, Former Special Director General, ICAR and Dr. R.B Singh also gave their remarks on the occasion and narrated anecdotes of their association with Dr. Borlaug.
Earlier, Dr. S. Ayyappan, Secretary, DARE and Director General, ICAR welcomed the dignitaries and briefed the gathering about the objectives of the ‘The 50 PACT’. He said that this event is a gathering of conversations and existing partnerships on food security in South Asia.
The two-day (16-17th August, 2013) event is being jointly organized by the ICAR, CIMMYT and Borlaug Institute for South Asia.
Senior officials and scientists from CGIAR institutions, ICAR, World Bank and other national and international organization of repute are participating in this programme.
Dr. Swapan Kumar Datta, Deputy Director General (Crop Science), ICAR proposed vote of thanks.
(Source: NAIP Mass Media Project, DKMA, ICAR)