IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


25th September, 2023 Economy

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Picture Courtesy: bikkinews.com

Context: Swati Nayak, an Indian agriculture scientist known as "Bihana Didi" (Seed Lady) by local communities in Odisha, was awarded the prestigious Norman E Borlaug Award for 2023. This award recognizes her significant contributions to agriculture, particularly her work on introducing drought-tolerant rice varieties in Odisha.

Key Highlights

  • Swati Nayak became the third Indian agriculture scientist to receive the Norman E Borlaug Award in 2023. The other two Indian recipients of this award were Aditi Mukherji in 2012 and Mahalingam Govindaraj in 2022.
  • Nayak's work with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) focused on introducing drought-tolerant Shahabhagi Dhan rice varieties in Odisha. This initiative significantly impacted rainfed areas by providing farmers with a resilient rice variety.
  • Nayak's efforts also resulted in the successful deployment of climate-resilient rice varieties not only in India but also in Bangladesh and Nepal. Her strategies and partnerships played a crucial role in achieving this.
  • The World Food Prize (WFP) foundation recognized Swati Nayak's 13 years of service in agriculture, particularly her innovative approach to engaging smallholder farmers in demand-driven rice seed systems.
  • Nayak's work included efforts to empower women in agriculture. Through her initiatives, women-led seed enterprises produced and distributed quality seeds, resulting in increased productivity, income, decision-making authority, and overall empowerment of women in farming communities.

Norman E. Borlaug Award

● The award is designed to honour exceptional scientists under the age of 40 who are actively engaged in addressing the global challenges of food and nutrition security and the eradication of hunger.

● The award is named in memory of Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, a renowned agronomist and the chief architect of the Green Revolution. Dr. Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his contributions to increasing agricultural productivity and alleviating hunger.

Recipients of the award are individuals who work directly with farmers, animal herders, fishers, or others in rural communities. They can be from any discipline or enterprise related to food production, processing, and distribution.

● Norman E. Borlaug Award is presented annually by the World Food Prize Foundation. The award includes a diploma featuring an image of Dr. Norman Borlaug at work in the fields of Mexico, symbolizing his dedication to agriculture and food security. In addition to the diploma, the recipient is awarded a cash prize of $10,000.


  • Swati Nayak's work in promoting climate-resilient rice varieties and her dedication to improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers has earned her this prestigious award. Her story highlights the importance of innovation and community engagement in sustainable agriculture.


Q. What is the significance of the Norman E. Borlaug Award?

A) It recognizes achievements in literature.

B) It honours excellence in sports.

C) It acknowledges contributions to agriculture and hunger eradication.

D) It celebrates advancements in space exploration.

Answer: C


Norman E. Borlaug Award acknowledges contributions to agriculture and hunger eradication. The Norman E. Borlaug Award is given to individuals who have made significant contributions to food security and the fight against hunger.