Remembering the Father of Indian Seed Industry- Dr B.R. Barwale

Whenever he would enter the office, his aura would itself encourage and inspire us. It was humbling to have an opportunity to work in the company of someone so dedicated to agriculture. Sir would smile at everyone who walked past him. And now that smile will never be back…

It was in those days, precisely the early 1960’s, when India was facing acute food shortage. Droughts, famine and hunger was plaguing the country. No food was available. People were losing hope in agriculture as a sector and saviour from hunger. Instead of getting carried away in these thoughts, Dr. Barwale decided to rise above these problems. He started to look at agriculture as an opportunity which would solve these problems. Thus began his quest to bring research and innovation into agriculture, something in which he had strong faith. He believed that innovation is a one-stop solution to cease all agrarian problems.

So what happened when a man with humble beginnings took charge of agriculture and experimented with okra seeds on his farms? What happened when he began a seeds company in those farms, convinced that he will be able to help farmers come out of distress? Indian agriculture began to flourish under his leadership. Racing much ahead of time, his far-sightedness enabled him to realise the potential of applying innovation in agriculture. His burning desire to bring farmers out of the agrarian crisis motivated him to bring innovation at the core of agriculture at a time, when most were still practising primitive methods.

His relentless efforts paved way for introducing country’s first biotech crop Bt Cotton and developing first indigenous food crop Bt Brinjal. His work in seed innovation was a result of his passion, which was backed by his strong urge to develop agriculture in India.

Today, we celebrate his life. Though saddened by this gap he left behind, his life continues to be an inspiration for all of us. He showed us what one man’s passion and noble thoughts can do to the world. He had full faith in us, he believed that we will think ahead of our time and embrace seed innovation for the larger good of the country. He believed that the youth will take agriculture forward with the same vision as his. And the least we can do to celebrate his life, is to pledge that we will take his legacy forward and ensure his contributions continue to change lives of Indian farmers.

– By Team Mahyco