BGRI Technical Workshop 2013 Concludes

A True Tribute to Borlaug’s Vision

New Delhi
23 August 2013

The Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI) Technical Workshop 2013 that also commemorated the 50th anniversary of Dr. Norman E. Borlaug’s first visit to India concluded on 22 August, 2013 in New Delhi. The ceremony also featured a panel session in which farmers who had met and worked with Dr. Borlaug during the early years of the green revolution shared their memories of him.

The Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI) Technical Workshop 2013

In his closing remarks, Dr S Ayyappan, Secretary, DARE & Director General, ICAR thanked BGRI for choosing India as a venue for this year’s conference and announced the establishment of a special National Professorial Chair in the name of Dr. Borlaug. He assured delegates that ICAR is taking steps to ensure that researchers do not face difficulties in transfer of biological material across borders for research purposes.

This sentiment was reinforced by Prof. Ronnie Coffman, Vice-Chair, BGRI and Director of International Programme at Cornell University, who announced that they would formulate an official communicate to address the problems faced in the free flow of research material. Proceedings at this conference would be used to establish action points before the 2014 workshop. He particularly recognized the immense participation from the Indian agronomists and students and especially their poster submissions. He called for even greater participation, particularly from young researchers in this initiative and announced that they have a greater role to play to meet the challenges to food security in the future.

South Asia Coordinator for BGRI and Chairman of Sathguru Management Consultants, Sh K Vijayaraghavan congratulated all the delegates and participants from around the world on the success of the workshop and thanked all those involved both at the forefront and behind the scenes. Jeanie Borlaug in her closing remarks said, “Do not let frustrations blind us to the opportunities before us and work to make your own contributions to Norman Borlaug’s vision.”

Earlier, the concluding session began with a summary of the proceedings of the Workshop by Dr. Matthew Rouse of the University of Minnesota. This was followed by an address by Dr. Indu Sharma, Director, Directorate of Wheat Research Karnal who presented a 50 year plan of action for wheat rust research in India. She reiterated a major concern among researchers on the impediments to free flow of biological material for research purposes.

Hans Braun of CIMMYT, stressed the fundamental importance of a thorough knowledge of agronomy for wheat farmers. He also presented a curtain raiser for the BGRI Technical Workshop 2014 in Obregon, Mexico in March. The event will also celebrate Dr. Borlaug’s birth centenary.

The workshop also recognized and honoured the work of young women scientists, through the Women in Triticum (WIT) Awards and the WIT Mentor Awards. Dr. Robert Park of the University of Sydney received the Gene Stewardship Award. The poster session provided an opportunity for wheat agronomists from all over the world to present their work to the delegates.

The highlight of this year was 25 displays from student researchers working in various institutions in India. These posters were selected on the basis of a national level competition.

(anil [dot] cproatgmail [dot] com)