New Delhi, November 28, 2012: “The 12th Five Year plan should bring dynamism to Agriculture in the wake of serious concerns that the sector is facing”, opined Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, the Deputy Chairperson of Planning Commission of India. Dr Singh addressed a huge gathering of Agriculture scientists here on Wednesday 28th November 2012 on the occasion of the 24th Coromandel Lecture, and presentation of the coveted Borlaug Award 2012 to Dr. K. V. Prabhu and Dr. Ashok Kumar Singh, distinguished scientists of Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI), for their outstanding contribution to Basmati rice research and development at the NASC Symposium Hall, Pusa. He expressed satisfaction over the improved performance in the agricultural sector in the last 5 years, when compared to the previous 5 years. He felt that there are greater challenges ahead for agricultural scientists in the wake of fast climate change and other unfavourable agri-conditions. He also congratulated the Coromandel International Limited and the Murugappa Group for instituting the Borlaug award to promote research in the field of agriculture.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Kapil Mehan, Managing Director, Coromandel International Limited stated the Company has instituted the Coromandel Lecture in 1970 to promote and develop symbiotic interaction among agriculture, industry and academia across the world, while the Borlaug Award is to recognise the Indian Talent in the field of Agriculture, Environment and Extension.
Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, MP (Rajya Sabha) and the Father of the Green Revolution in India, outlined the extensive work carried out by the awardees in developing the Basmati rice varieties. He appraised the work of the agriculture scientists who are striving to hard to ensure food security for the growing global population.
The winners of Award were given a cash prize of Rs. 2.5 Lakhs each, a Gold medal and a citation.
Earlier in the evening, Dr. Robert S. Zeigler, Director General of the International Rice Research Institute, (Philippines) delivered the Coromandel Lecture on “Cutting edge Science for food security, economic growth and environment protection”.
The event was attended by eminent agricultural scientists and representatives of corporate India, including Mr. A. Vellayan, Executive Chairman, Murugappa Group.
Brief bio’s of the Awardees:
Dr. K. V. Prabhu has contributed significantly towards devising the breeding strategy for combining poly-genes for various Basmati quality traits including linear cooked kernel elongation – a main feature of Pusa Basmati 1121, the most widely cultivated Basmati rice variety. His experience in improving wheat and mustard for disease resistance and quality with the help of fast-paced molecular marker application in plant breeding came handy in supporting the rice group. He has been actively involved as member of panel test for analyzing cooking and eating quality. After taking over as the Head of the Division of Genetics in the year 2006, Dr. Prabhu was instrumental in taking up the issue of redefining basmati rice in India to enable development of high yielding basmati rice so that farmers of India can compete effectively in international markets. He has been associated with the crop improvement programme of wheat, barley, brassica and rice leading to development of 14 varieties including two of rice (Pusa Basmati 6 and Pusa Basmati 1121). The contributions have facilitated the improvement of the livelihood of millions of Basmati rice farmers of India.
Dr. Ashok Kumar Singh has made pioneering contributions in basic and applied research in rice genetics and breeding. He has been associated with the IARI’s development and popularization of seven Basmati/long grain aromatic rice varieties. These include, Pusa Sugandh 2, Pusa Sugandh 3, Pusa Sugandh 5, Pusa Basmati 1121 and Improved Pusa Basmati- 1. He assisted pyramiding of bacterial blight resistance genes ‘xa13’ and ‘Xa 21’ in Pusa Basmati 1, Pusa Basmati 6 and the world’s first superfine grain aromatic rice hybrid Pusa RH 10. He has also incorporated bacterial blight resistance genes in parental lines of Pusa RH 10, and developed isogenic lines of Pusa Basmati 1 carrying major genes for blast resistance. Dr. Singh has also improved Pusa Basmati 1121 for resistance to blight, blast and tolerance to salinity. In basic research, Dr. Singh has made noteworthy contribution through the development of novel markers, mapping populations, molecular mapping of genes for grain and cooking quality traits in Basmati rice, which will be helpful in accelerating the pace of breeding program.
About Coromandel International Limited
Coromandel International Limited, India’s second largest Phosphatic fertilizer player, is in the business segments of Fertilizers, Specialty Nutrients, Crop Protection and Retail. The Company manufactures a wide range of fertilizers and markets around 2.9 million tons making it a leader in its addressable markets.
In its endeavor to be a complete plant nutrition solutions Company, Coromandel has also introduced a range of Specialty Nutrient products including Organic Fertilizers. The Crop Protection business produces insecticides, fungicides and herbicides and markets these products in India and across the globe. Coromandel is the second largest manufacturer of Malathion and only the second manufacturer of Phenthoate. Coromandel has also ventured into the retail business setting up more than 640 rural retail centers in the States of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
The Company clocked a turnover of Rs. 9,823 crore during FY 2011-12. lt was ranked among the top 20 best companies to work for by Business Today and was also voted as one of the ten greenest companies in India by TERI, reflecting its commitment to the environment and society. Coromandel is a part of the `22314 Cr Murugappa Group. For more details, please visit www.coromandel.biz.
About Murugappa Group
Founded in 1900, the Rs. 22314 Crores (USD 4.4 billion) Murugappa Group is one of India’s leading business conglomerates. The Group has 28 businesses including eight listed Companies actively traded in NSE & BSE. Headquartered in Chennai, the major Companies of the Group include Carborundum Universal Ltd., Cholamandalam Investment and Finance Company Ltd., Cholamandalam MS General Insurance Company Ltd., Coromandel International Ltd., Coromandel Engineering Company Ltd., E.I.D. Parry (India) Ltd., Parry Agro Industries Ltd., Tube Investments of India Ltd., and Wendt (India) Ltd.
Market leaders in served segments including Abrasives, Auto Components, Cycles, Sugar, Farm Inputs, Fertilizers, Plantations, Bio-products and Nutraceuticals, the Group has forged strong alliances with leading international companies like Groupe Chimique Tunisien, Foskor, Cargill, Mitsui Sumitomo, Morgan Crucible and Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (SQM). The Group has a wide geographical presence spanning 13 states in India and 5 continents.
Renowned brands like BSA, Hercules, Ballmaster, Ajax, Parry’s, Chola, Gromor and Paramfos are from the Murugappa stable. The organization fosters an environment of professionalism and has a workforce of over 32,000 employees.