Agri Business

Rice-research pioneer SVS Shastry is dead

M Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on February 06, 2019 Published on February 05, 2019

SVS Shastry

SVS Shastry, a pioneer in rice research in India, who contributed immensely to agriculture for over half a century, passed away at the age of 91 in Hyderabad.

Shastry and other researchers had developed high-yielding rice varieties Jaya and Padma, which broke the yield barrier in the 1960s. He was the project coordinator (Rice) with the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR), New Delhi, during the period.

After a PhD from the University of Wisconsin, Shastry joined the Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI), where he initiated teaching and research during 1958-65. He was the founder-project coordinator of the All India Coordinated Rice Improvement Project (AICRIP), Hyderabad, which started in 1965 and also the Indian Institute of Rice Research (IIRR).

The lead researcher

With Shastry in the lead, the AICRIP expanded and nearly 1,100 rice varieties have been released over the past five decades under the ICAR system, say agriculture scientists in Hyderabad. IIRR Director S RVoleti said: “We celebrated 50 years of Jaya variety in 2015, which was released by IIRR in 1965. Shastry is a pioneer in rice research.”

Born in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, in 1928 and educated in the that city, Shastry won several awards including the Norman Borlaug Award in 1974 and was honoured with the Padma Shri in 1971. He is survived by son and two daughters.

A fellow of all the national scientific academies, especially in the agriculture area, Shastry served as Executive Secretary, International Rice Commission of the Food and Agriculture Organisation, (FAO), Rome, and as Director of Research at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Nigeria, during 1977-83.

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Published on February 05, 2019
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