HarvestPlus deeply mourns the passing of Dr. Mankombu Sambasivan (M.S.) Swaminathan—a distinguished agricultural scientist known as the “Father of the Green Revolution in India,” who passed away on September 28, 2023 at 98 years old. He leaves behind an indelible mark on the agriculture and nutrition landscape in India and beyond.
Dr. M.S Swaminathan exhibited an insatiable curiosity and passion for science and agriculture throughout his life. His contribution to Indian agriculture is immeasurable. His groundbreaking work in crop breeding and genetics laid the foundation for what would become the Green Revolution in India.
His tireless efforts led to the development of high-yielding, disease-resistant crop varieties, particularly wheat and rice, which transformed India from a food-deficient nation into a self-reliant agricultural powerhouse.
His work alleviated hunger and poverty, and catalyzed economic growth and prosperity in rural communities, and he was instrumental in the introduction and acceptance of biofortified foods in India. The HarvestPlus team worked closely with Dr. M.S. Swaminathan to advocate for Indian government support for biofortified foods, and fondly remember him as a strong supporter of linking agriculture.
As both a scientist and member of Parliament, he was a champion for biofortification, as evidenced by his 2012 editorial published in Science. The HarvestPlus team had the honor to work side-by-side with Dr. M.S. Swaminathan and enjoyed a milestone with him in 2013, when the Finance Minister announced the first Indian pilot program and funding for “Nutri-Farms for introducing new crop varieties that are rich in micro-nutrients such as iron-rich bajra, protein-rich maize, and zinc-rich wheat.”
Let us remember Dr. M.S. Swaminathan’s enduring commitment to the welfare of humanity, and let his legacy serve as a guiding light for future generations. Though he may be gone, his impact on agriculture and nutrition will resonate for eternity. HarvestPlus is thankful for having had the opportunity to work with this agricultural visionary and biofortification champion.