NEW YORK - Dr. M.S. Swam-inathan, who helped revolutionize agriculture in India, won the 10th annual Volvo Environmental Prize.
'India, a country that not too many years ago was written off as a basket case, a hopeless case, that would never be able to feed itself, is proud to have turned this situation around,' he said, shortly before a formal awards ceremony Oct. 26 at Columbia University.
AB Volvo established the Environmental Prize to recognize pro-environment inventions and discoveries. The prize includes a cash award of 1.5 million Swedish krona, or about $250,000 at current exchange rates. Volvo likes to call it, informally, 'the Nobel of environmental awards.'
Villages receive Internet link
Swaminathan's original work on crop yields dates back to India's 'Green Revolution' in the 1960s. His latest brainchild is the Centre for Research on Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Develop-ment in Chennai, India. The center works on many fronts, including a project to give rural villages in India access to the Internet.
Women may be reluctant to discuss health problems with male doctors, especially in India, he said. The Internet project, which is administered exclusively by women, is a way around that, Swaminathan said.
'Environmental care is a core value of Volvo's,' said AB Volvo President Leif Johannson. 'It's a natural extension of our safety value and heritage.'
Sweden's AB Volvo is now primarily a maker of heavy trucks and construction equipment since it sold Volvo Car Corp. to Ford Motor Co., effective earlier this year.
'This (environmental) attitude started in the early 1970s as pretty much exclusively focused on protecting the ecology from the factories themselves, but it has grown to where it includes how our products are produced and used, throughout their entire life cycle,' Johannson said. 'We have spent a great amount of resources and hard work on making sure we live up to that `green value.''