Rice Scientist Receives 2023 Norman E. Borlaug Award
The World Food Prize Foundation has announced the selection of Dr. Swati Nayak as the 2023 Recipient of the Norman E. Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application, Endowed by The Rockefeller Foundation. Nayak is recognized 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.
Dr. Swati Nayak is the South Asia Lead for Seed System and Product Management at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). She has dedicated herself to closing the gap between scientific knowledge and its practical applications for farmers. In 2010, she started working as the only woman administrator at the Integrated Tribal Development Agency in the remote forest region of Andhra Pradesh. Her grassroots experience paved the way for her to be appointed as head of the first-ever dedicated Indian government initiative for women farmers.
Resilience to climate change is also a central part of Nayak's advocacy for sustainable agriculture. Her team has formulated a strategy for introducing the drought-tolerant rice variety Shahabhagi Dhan in Odisha, India which soon became an integral element of every farm family's diet and crop rotation.