July 16, 2024

NEW DELHI (AP) — Mankombu Sambasivan Swaminathan, a renowned agricultural scientist who revolutionized India’s farming and was a key architect of the country’s “Green Revolution” died Thursday. He was 98.

Swaminathan died at his home in southern Chennai city after an age-related illness, news agency Press Trust of India reported.

In the late 1960s and 1970s, the agriculturalist was instrumental in bringing industrial farming to India, making the country self-sufficient in food and reducing widespread hunger. India’s “Green Revolution,” as it was known, turned the northern states of Punjab and Haryana into breadbaskets for wheat and rice production, helping low-income farmers.

The initiative, now dubbed as a transformational era in Indian agriculture, introduced high-yielding cereal varieties and expanded use of irrigation and fertilizers. Grain production increased exponentially, at a time when India was beset with widespread starvation.

For his work, Swaminathan was named one of the 20 most influential Asians of the 20th century by Time magazine.

Swaminathan also held administrative positions in various agricultural research institutes in India and served as a top planner at the Indian Council of Agricultural Research between 1972 and 1979. He received the Padma Shri, one of the Indian government’s top honors, in 1967.

Swaminathan also served as a lawmaker in India’s upper house of the Parliament.

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