On January 19, 2007, Raj Gupta stepped down as the CIMMYT Facilitator of the Rice-Wheat Consortium (RWC) based in New Delhi, India. When Raj assumed the leadership of the RWC, the technological foundation had been created for the new resourceconserving technologies (RCT) appropriate for the dominant ricewheat production system of the Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP), such as zero-till seeding and bed planting of wheat and other crops. It was obvious that these new technologies offered a tremendous potential to benefit the livelihoods of farmers producing rice and wheat in the IGP and that they also offered pragmatic opportunities to enhance the long-term sustainability of this production system.
However, farmer adoption of these new technologies was still negligible. Teaming with former CIMMYT wheat agronomist Peter Hobbs, Raj brought together farmers, the private sector (especially machinery manufacturers), scientists, and extension agents in a partnership essential for the rapid adoption of the RCTs. When Raj began his efforts, the area in the IGP devoted to RCTs was not more than 10,000 ha. After less than seven years, it has reached nearly 3 million hectares. This tremendous achievement of the RWC partnership, led by Raj, was awarded the King Baudouin award in 2004 and represents the best example of the widespread adoption of RCT and conservation agriculture by small and mediumscale farmers in irrigated production systems anywhere in the world.
The CIMMYT community wishes to express a deep sense of gratitude for Raj’s remarkable efforts and wishes him all the best as takes on new challenges with ICAR in India.