NEW DELHI, India (CIMMYT) — Thomas A. Lumpkin, noted international agronomist and former Director General of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), received the prestigious “MS Swaminathan Award for Leadership in Agriculture” during his presentation of the Ninth Foundation Day Lecture of India’s “Trust for Advancement of Agricultural Sciences” (TAAS) at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), Pusa, New Delhi.
Named after eminent agricultural scientist and father of India’s Green Revolution, Dr. MS Swaminathan, the Award is conferred on individuals “who have undertaken outstanding work in the field of agriculture, animal sciences, and fisheries.” It was first given in 2005 by the President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, to Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, Nobel Peace Prize laureate who led the development and spread of high-yielding wheat varieties and farming methods in developing countries in the 1960s and 70s.
On this occasion, the Award was given to Lumpkin by Swaminathan himself.
“I’m humbled and greatly honored by this award,” said Lumpkin. “Swaminathan and Borlaug were visionaries who worked together and made their case courageously to political leaders to get appropriate technologies into farmers’ hands.
“We must do the same, if South Asia is to provide more and nutritious food for the more than 1 billion people who will live here in 2050, without further degrading land or depleting groundwater and facing rising temperatures that particularly threaten maize and wheat production.”
A former professor of Washington State University (WSU) and Chair of WSU’s Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Lumpkin served for five years as Director General of AVRDC-The World Vegetable Center, Taiwan, before his appointment as CIMMYT Director General.
Under Lumpkin’s leadership during 2008-15, CIMMYT more than tripled in size and greatly expanded its partnerships, funding, reputation and impacts. As part of this, India and CIMMYT strengthened their longstanding partnership and, through the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), established in 2011 the Borlaug Institute for South Asia (BISA), a non-profit international research organization dedicated to food, nutrition, and livelihood security and to environmental rehabilitation.
The MS Swaminathan Award for Leadership in Agriculture is jointly sponsored by the Retired Indian Council for Agriculture Research Employees Association (RICAREA) and Nuziveedu Seeds, India’s largest seed company.
Headquartered in Mexico, CIMMYT is the global leader in publicly-funded research for development for wheat and maize and for wheat- and maize-based farming systems. CIMMYT works throughout the developing world with hundreds of partners, belongs to the 15-member CGIAR Consortium, and leads the CGIAR Research Programs on Wheat and Maize. CIMMYT receives support from national governments, foundations, development banks and other public and private agencies.
Geneviève Renard| Head of Communications
International Wheat and Maize Improvement Center (CIMMYT)