Dr. Badrinarayan Barwale, Founder and Chairman of Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company (MAHYCO), a leading Indian seed company and an APSA member of long standing, passed away on 24 July 2017 at 86 years of age.
Dr. Barwale, a small farmer in the 1950s, fascinated by the high yields of an okra variety, produced and distributed its seeds to his fellow farmers, who joined him in harvesting the benefits of good technology. Encouraged, he founded the first private sector seed company MAHYCO in 1964, built upon his threefold principle of precise situational awareness, readiness to work hard and the constant pursuit of innovation.
Recognized as the “Father of Seed Industry in India” by the Crop Science Society of America, Dr. Barwale was awarded the “Life Membership” of the Federation of International Seedsmen (FIS) in 1996. His superior accomplishments in developing the role of private seed enterprise in India, earned him the prestigious “12th World Food Prize” in 1998. A highly decorated seedsman, Dr. Barwale’s contributions to Indian agriculture and food security, won him several awards and honours, including the Government of India’s “Padma Bhushan” in 2001. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), conferred on him the “Lifetime Achievement Award” for his innovative and outstanding contributions to Indian agriculture in 2014. The Prime Minister of India felicitated him in 2016 in recognition of his immense contributions to Indian agriculture.
Dr. Barwale held a lifelong conviction that technological innovation is the key to improving crop production in a country of small farmers, whose cause he always championed. It was his vision that led him to introduce the only GM crop in India in 2002, which revolutionized the cotton production in the country, catapulting it from a net importer to a leading global exporter of cotton.
The Asia and Pacific Seed Association (APSA) mourns the passing of this doyen of Indian seed industry. Our sincere condolences on his passing go out to his family and colleagues. The world is truly “a better place” because of him.
Also, please see additional tribute to the late Dr. Barwale on The Hindu Business Online Dot Com (here)