In a momentous recognition of her exceptional contributions to the field of agriculture and food production, Odia scientist Swati Nayak is set to receive the prestigious Borlaug Field Award for 2023. This coveted award honors her innovative approach to engaging farmers in demand-driven rice seed systems, from testing and deployment to access and adoption of climate-resilient and nutritious rice varieties.
A Rising Star at CGIAR-International Rice Research Institute
Swati Nayak currently serves as a scientist and holds the position of South Asia lead for seed system and product management at the CGIAR-International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) located in the Philippines. Her dedication and commitment to revolutionizing rice agriculture have earned her this distinguished accolade from the World Food Prize selection jury.
A Remarkable Career Spanning 13 Years
Swati Nayak’s impressive career spanning over 13 years has left an indelible mark on the world of agriculture. She has organized more than 10,000 on-farm and comparative testings, and participatory evaluations for over 500 rice varieties.
Her efforts have resulted in the dissemination of more than 20 critical path-breaking varieties that are not only climate-resilient but also high-yielding, bio-fortified, and healthier, all achieved through innovative seed systems and scaling channels across multiple countries.
Swati Nayak’s Drought-tolerant rice variety
One of Swati Nayak’s remarkable achievements includes the introduction of the drought-tolerant rice variety, Shahabhagi Dhan, in Mayurbhanj, Odisha. Eight years since her initial intervention, Shahabhagi Dhan continues to be one of the most sought-after rice products in Odisha and the rest of India, as attested by official sources.
Seeds Without Borders: An International Seed Policy Agreement
Nayak’s influence extends beyond national borders. She played a pivotal role in crafting an international seed policy agreement known as “Seeds Without Borders,” which expedites the distribution of modern rice varieties throughout South and Southeast Asia. Her work in this domain has contributed significantly to enhancing global food security.
Empowering Women in Agriculture
In addition to her groundbreaking research, Swati Nayak has made a substantial impact on empowering women in agriculture through her collaboration with the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), a project led by the Indian government and the World Bank. Her initiatives have fostered greater gender inclusivity and participation in agriculture-related activities.
The Grand Recognition
Swati Nayak is scheduled to receive the Borlaug Field Award during the Borlaug Dialogue, set to take place on October 24 this year in Des Moines, Iowa. This award, named after the renowned agricultural scientist and Nobel laureate Norman Borlaug, is presented annually to individuals under the age of 40 whose work significantly advances global food production and helps alleviate hunger and malnutrition. As part of this honor, Nayak will be awarded $10,000 and an award diploma.
Key takeaways for competitive examination
- Chief Minister of Odisha: Naveen Patnaik