Ludhiana, Feb.28 (ANI): Dr. Gurdev Singh Khush, the Indian agronomist, who along with his mentor Dr. Henry Beachell, was the recipient of 1996 World Food Prize for their unparalleled contribution to enhancing and improving the supply of rice.
He wants to continue serving the humanity by contributing towards the progress and promotion of agricultural research.
Having received his primary education in a village school, Gurdev Singh studied at Government Agricultural College and went to England. He worked there for about a year-and-a-half and saved some money.
"While I was living in England I started writing to various US universities for admission as well as financial support. I received response from three universities in the USA. I took admission in the University of California. They offered me scholarship and I joined," said Dr. Gurdev Singh Khush, the agronomist.
"I joined my studies there in 1957 and completed my doctorate in genetics in 1960. After getting my doctorate, the University of California offered me a job as assistant genet assist. I worked there for seven years and then I was offered the position of rice breeder at International Rice Research Institute. I moved there in 1967. The reason was that rice is the most important food crop. It feeds the world's half population. I thought if I could contribute some advancements in rice research, it will be much better other than staying in the United States," said Dr.Khush.
"As you know, green revolution was in two crops, rice and wheat.
Wheat work was done by Dr. Borlog in Mexico and he sent the wheat varieties to all over the world. Similarly, I led the rice program which led to the green revolution. I was fortunate to visit all these countries and being able to help, including India being my priority. For the breakthroughs in rice breeding I was awarded various prizes. The first one was the Japan prize, which is considered as the Noble prize in science, and then in 1996, I was awarded the World Food prize for the rice breeding work, which is also considered equivalent to Noble prize in agriculture. In year 2000, I received the Wolf prize in agriculture, which is from Israel.
"The money from these prizes was accumulated to 700,000 dollars. On converting, it amount to 3.5 crore rupees. My wife and I decided that we will not use this prize money for personal use. We have made that money available to Punjab Agricultural University, so that they can upgrade their research and teaching progress.
Dr Khush believes his main achievement lies in being able to help humanity. "It's because of the education I received at PAU that I was able to have an opportunity to work at International Rice Research Institute. "There I got good facilities and good support and I had a large group of scientists working under my leadership so that was the reason and I am very proud of what we have been able to help the humanity." By Karan Kapoor(ANI)