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Monday, March 4, 2024

“M.S. Swaminathan, Green Revolution Pioneer, Dies at 98”

Indian agricultural scientist Monkombu Sambasivan Swaminathan, renowned for catalyzing the “Green Revolution” in India nearly six decades ago, transforming the nation into a top wheat producer and ending famine, passed away at the age of 98 in Chennai, southern India, due to age-related illness.

In the 1960s, during a period of severe famine in China and India’s reliance on food imports, Swaminathan, a young scientist, chose to dedicate himself to agricultural research. His groundbreaking work in crossbreeding wheat seeds led to India tripling its annual wheat crop within just 15 years.

His daughter, Soumya Swaminathan, former chief scientist at the World Health Organization, shared that he remained committed to the welfare of farmers and the upliftment of society’s poorest until the end.

President Drupada Murmu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, lawmakers, scientists, and people nationwide expressed their condolences.

Swaminathan received numerous awards for his agricultural contributions, including the first World Food Prize in 1987 and India’s second-highest civilian honor, the Padma Vibhushan, in 1989.

In 2008, Swaminathan advocated for conservation farming and green technology to achieve a sustainable “Evergreen Revolution” in the 21st century, positioning India as a leading global food supplier. He recognized the ecological challenges posed by the earlier Green Revolution, such as heavy fertilizer use, declining water tables, and soil quality issues.

Swaminathan leaves behind a legacy that has greatly influenced Indian agriculture science, offering hope for a safer, hunger-free future for humanity, as President Murmu noted.

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