Odia scientist Swati Nayak wins Norman Borlaug Field Award – Times of India

BHUBANESWAR: Odia scientist Swati Nayak will receive the Borlaug Field Award 2023 for 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.
Nayak is presently working as a scientist and South Asia lead for seed system and product management at CGIAR-International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines. She received this award from the esteemed selection jury of the World Food Prize.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik congratulated Nayak and said, “Her outstanding contributions in the fields of agriculture and food production will inspire young scientists worldwide. I wish her all the best in her future endeavours.”
Nayak expressed her pride in representing the state and country on a global scale. “I dedicate this award to thousands of agriculture extensionists, change agents, and scaling and innovation experts, specifically to all the young women professionals who are directly working with the farmers,” said the scientist, who currently resides in Delhi with her husband and daughter. Her parents, Laxmidhar Nayak and Bijayalaxmi Naik, live in Bhubaneswar.
“Over her 13-year career, she has organized more than 10,000 on-farm and comparative testings and participatory evaluations for more than 500 rice varieties and disseminated more than 20 critical path-breaking varieties that are climate-resilient, high-yielding, bio-fortified, and healthier through seed systems and scaling channels in many countries,” stated IRRI on Nayak’s website.
Nayak and her team formulated a strategy for introducing the drought-tolerant rice variety Shahabhagi Dhan in Mayurbhanj, Odisha. Eight years after her initial intervention, Sahabhagi Dhan remains one of the most in-demand products in Odisha and the rest of India, according to official sources.
She has also played a role in creating an international seed policy agreement that expedites the distribution of modern rice varieties across South and Southeast Asia, known as Seeds Without Borders. She also contributed to empowering women in agriculture through her work with the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), led by the Indian government and the World Bank.
Nayak will formally receive the award during the Borlaug Dialogue scheduled to take place on October 24 this year in Des Moines, Iowa.
The award, named after renowned agricultural scientist and Nobel laureate Norman Borlaug, is presented annually to individuals under the age of 40 whose work has significantly advanced global food production and helped alleviate hunger and malnutrition. The recipient will receive 10,000 US dollars and an award diploma.

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