Ravi Singh, head of wheat improvement and rust research at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), has received the V S Mathur Memorial Award 2022 for outstanding contribution in the field of wheat crop improvement from the Society for Advancement of Wheat and Barley Research (SAWBAR).
Singh received the award from T. R. Sharma, Deputy Director General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and G. P. Singh, Director of the Indian Institute for Wheat and Barley Research (IIWBR) at ICAR.
As recipient of the award, Singh delivered a lecture during the 61st All India Wheat and Barley Research Workers’ Meet in Gwalior, India, on August 29. He highlighted and praised the partnership between India and CIMMYT as essential for accelerating gains in wheat yield despite the stresses of climate change thanks to improved resilience in new varieties and earlier sowing.
“The ICAR-CIMMYT wheat improvement partnership remains crucial for delivering new varieties with higher rates of genetic gain in farmers’ fields to enhance productivity, climate resilience, disease resistance and nutrition while meeting market needs,” he said.
Successes of the partnership include integrated breeding with a common agenda, commercialized varieties that are adapted to flexible sowing dates including early sowing, diverse and durable resistance to rust diseases, adoption of wheat blast resistant varieties in large areas, biofortified and high-quality varieties, and the move towards mainstreaming of zinc (Zn) biofortification.
Singh also paid homage to the award’s namesake, as VS Mathur’s “wheat varieties once occupied fields of many millions of farmers and provided food and nutrition to many more millions throughout India and beyond”.