The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), in New Delhi, India, and associated institutions were granted the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI) Gene Stewardship Award at the 2018 BGRI Technical Workshop in Marrakech, Morocco, on April 14, 2018. The award was in recognition of outstanding contributions in wheat research and development.
“We are very proud of our partners in India,” said Ronnie Coffman, vice-chair of the BGRI, who made the award with Jeanie Borlaug. “They have built on Dr. Norman Borlaug’s initial introductions of short stature, high-yielding wheat and developed tremendous research capacity since then. The fact that Indian farmers regularly produce almost 100 million tons of wheat annually is an impressive feat and, in large part, the result of continued hard work by Indian plant breeders, plant pathologists and surveillance experts. Their efforts are critical to wheat security in South Asia.”
As Jeanie Borlaug said, “This is really a group award for all Indian wheat scientists, as so many have contributed to the achievements in India since my father’s time.”
In the citation, the reasons given for granting the 2018 BGRI Gene Stewardship Award to the Indian wheat team were: strong investment in and impact on wheat rust control through development, constant release, and dissemination of agronomically-superior rust resistant wheat varieties; contributions to significantly increase wheat productivity on around 30 million hectares; avoidance of rust epidemics in recent years by replacing susceptible wheat varieties with resistant varieties; establishment of the Regional Wheat Disease Monitoring Nursery and its important role in survey, surveillance, and identification of new pathotypes; the characterization of rust resistance genes, their introgression, and management; use of selection strategies for durable rust resistance based on minor genes; the utilization of farmer participatory variety selection; and excellent international collaboration.
The individuals who were in attendance to receive the award were: Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra, Dr. Gyanendra Pratap Singh, Dr. Ravish Chatrath, Dr. S.C. Bhardwaj, Dr. M. Sivasamy, Dr. Virinder Singh Sohu, Dr. Sai V. Prasad, Dr. Satish Kumar, Dr. V.K. Vikas, Dr. Parveen Chhuneja, Dr. R.R. Hanchinal, and Dr. Suma S Biradar. Others named who were not able to attend were: Dr. Indu Sharma, Dr. K.V. Prabhu, Dr. A.N. Mishra, Dr. M.S. Saharan, Dr. C.N. Mishra, Dr. Navtej Bains, Dr. Kuldeep Singh and Dr. G. Mavi.
Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra, the director general of ICAR, and Ambassador Dr. Kheya Bhattacharya, received the award with a number of awardees who were able to be present in Marrakech.
Congratulations, Team India, from the BGRI!