India’s Swati Nayak Wins World Food Prize’s Norman E Borlaug Award

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News in brief: Indian scientist Dr. Swati Nayak has won the 2023 Norman E Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application, recognized for her innovative work engaging smallholder farmers in demand-driven rice seed systems.

Dr Swati Nayak, an Indian scientist at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), has been named the 2023 recipient of the prestigious Norman E Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application.

The World Food Prize Foundation described her as an ‘outstanding young scientist’ during its announcement.

Nayak leads the South Asia for Seed System and Product Management at the IRRI in New Delhi, a local media house reported.

The award is backed by a Rockefeller Foundation endowment and is presented to exceptional scientists under 40. Other criteria for nomination includes active service in the field of food and nutrition security and hunger eradication. The award event is held in memory of the Nobel awardee and Green Revolution’s chief architect Dr Norman Borlaug.

It recognises Nayak for her innovative approach to engaging smallholder farmers in demand-driven rice seed systems. Her work includes over 10,000 extensive on-farm testing and deployment to equitable access and adoption of climate-resilient and nutritious 500+ rice varieties.

Since her work relies on women to evaluate and collect critical feedback on new rice varieties, she has trained many women groups in South Asia in varietal selection, seed production, marketing, and business development.

Nayak is a scientist from Odisha, but based in Delhi. She will formally receive the Borlaug Field Award during a ceremony at the 2023 Norman E. Borlaug International Dialogue October 24-26 in Des Moines, Iowa (US).

“This moment is a new beginning and a great opportunity to further strengthen my efforts, voice and impact as a field scientist,” the excited awardee said.

She also said that she looked forward to working relentlessly, and ensuring that farmers get quicker access to novel technologies, knowledge and resources while ensuring equity and inclusivity.

Nayak expressed gratitude to the World Food Prize Foundation for the honour as it echoes the joint pledge to build a resilient food system and a better world.

She had received a Ph.D. in Competitive Intelligence & Strategic Management for Agricultural Extension Management Strategy at Amity University (2017-2022). She also holds a Masters in Rural Management at the Institute of Rural Management Anand (2008-2010) and a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at Acharya NG Ranga Agriculture University (2003-2007).

Joseph Akahome
Joseph Akahome
Joseph O Akahome (OJ) is a writer, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Literature from the University of Benin. He is an avid agriculturist, with a bias for poultry and an insatiable appetite for chicken wings. When he is neither reading nor researching, he likes to spend recreational time playing board games, or swimming in serene forested lakes.

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