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Canadian honour for MS Swaminathan

MS Swaminathan, one of the pioneers of the Green Revolution in India, will receive an honorary doctorate from Canada's University of Alberta for his contribution to food security in the world.

delhi Updated: Sep 03, 2010 15:46 IST

MS Swaminathan, one of the pioneers of the Green Revolution in India, will receive an honorary doctorate from Canada's University of Alberta for his contribution to food security in the world.

The Edmonton-based university, which has forged strong relationship with India thanks to its Sri Lankan-born president Indira Samarasekera, said the world-renowned Indian agriculture scientist will receive the honorary degree Oct 7.

He will also deliver the annual Bentley Lecture on Sustainable Agriculture and the Lester Pearson Memorial Lecture the same day.

Described as "the father of economic ecology" by the UN Environment Programme, Swaminathan will speak on "Food Safety and Security in an Era of Climate Change" at the university.

Announcing the honour for the 85-year-old scientist, Nat Kav, associate dean of the faculty of agricultural, life and environmental sciences, said: "His contributions have been in the areas of science, in plant breeding and genetics, followed by taking that science to the level of the farmer and being concerned about gender equity and being concerned about the poorest of the poor and that's what I think makes him stand out."

"In this day and age, with climate change and everything else looming and threatening our food security, he has always advocated for sustainable agriculture and what he calls an 'evergreen revolution', which is not just sustainable today but generations beyond."

Chancellor Linda Hughes said the university is delighted to have the opportunity of bestowing the honorary doctorate on Swaminathan, adding that "his legacy reminds all of us of the power of one person to uplift an entire society".

Praising the scientist, a university statement said, "Swaminathan created an agricultural revolution in India in the 1960s, when he pioneered techniques to crossbreed a dwarf Mexican seed with Japanese seeds and local Indian varieties of wheat. As head of the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines for seven years, Swaminathan and his colleagues then used the same techniques to modify rice seeds with similar results."