It was a real honor to sit next to Prof. MS Swaminathan this week during the plenary lectures marking the Silver Jubilee Foundation Day of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences – an organization he started in 1990, of which I am pleased to say, ICRISAT is now a member.
Listening to details of M.S. Swaminathan’s career was amazing. In his presentation I was impressed with the clarity in which he remembered names, events and feelings over his 60 year journey in agricultural research for development. His passion for inclusion of women, preserving our planet by calling for an Evergreen Revolution in agriculture, and for helping tribal people who are the most disadvantaged in India, was an inspiration to me – and to the world.
Meeting with current and past leaders of India’s most influential agriculture institutions gave me a rich and deep perspective of the people behind the science that drove the first Green Revolution and in positioning young scientists to realize the Evergreen Revolution in India over the coming years.
Director General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Dr S. Ayyappan, the current President of NAAS, was a truly gracious host as always – thinking of others before himself. I was truly impressed at his ability to name all the participants and their affiliation and history.
I was joined by ICRISAT Principal Scientist (Entomology) Dr Hari Sharma who is a fellow of NAAS. I encourage our other Indian scientists to join NAAS as we strengthen our collaboration with ICAR and other national research organizations.
By locking arms and working in concert we will make a difference in the lives of smallholder farmers in India, and by building collaborations between research organizations in India and Africa, we can support farmers in the semi-arid tropics realize their dreams for themselves and their families through demand driven innovation and access to equitable markets. Below is my presentation.