Odia Agri Scientist Wins Norman Borlaug Award 2023


It’s a matter of pride and honour that the Odia agriculture scientist Dr Swati Nayak wins prestigious Norman Borlaug Field Award, 2023. The award is given to exceptional scientists under 40 years of age who work in the field of food and nutrition security, hunger eradication and exhibit the character and attributes of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Green Revolution’s Chief Architect Dr Norman Borlaug.

Striving to bridge the gap between scientific knowledge and its practical applications for farmers, Dr Nayak started working as the only woman administrator at the Integrated Tribal Development Agency in the remote forest region of Andhra Pradesh, India after graduating in 2010 with her Masters from the Institute of Rural Management Anand. Her grassroots experience paved the way for her to be appointed to head the first-ever dedicated Indian government initiative for women farmers.She was a central member of the team which crafted a comprehensive blueprint for the program, collaborating with more than 10 Indian states to establish a national program from scratch.

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Her work laid the foundation for the still flourishing program to benefit four million women farmers to date. Dr Nayak joined IRRI in 2013, where she has provided pivotal leadership in numerous global flagship programs on rice and rice-based food systems. She is the current lead for cereal seed systems under the key initiative SeedEqual of CGIAR, a worldwide research partnership focused on agricultural food systems.

Together with her team, she created innovative, participatory solutions to the daunting challenge of feeding and nourishing a rapidly growing global population amid climate change, through the rapid scaling up of improved rice varieties, seed systems innovations, and climate-smart technologies around the world. In that effort, Nayak has organized more than 10,000 extensive on-farm trials for more than 500 rice varieties, working with thousands of smallholder farmers across diverse ecosystems in different countries across Asia and Africa.

Dr Nayak received a Ph.D. in Competitive Intelligence & Strategic Management for Agricultural Extension Management Strategy at Amity University (2017-2022), a Master 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)

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