The accidental agricultural scientist
Munshi Siddique Ahmad ( 1924 - 19 October 2011)
In his over 30 year career in rice research, Munshi Siddique Ahmad (1924 – 19 October 2011) developed more than 30 varieties of high-yielding rice, including the BRRI Shail strain, which was responsible for increasing the rice production of Bangladesh from 8 million tonnes in 1965 to 20 million tonnes in 1975. Ahmad was also instrumental in setting up and planning the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute, where he served as head of the breeding division.
An accidental agricultural scientist, Ahmad originally wanted to be a physician. However, when Ahmad arrived in Dhaka to study medicine in 1946, he discovered that he had missed the admission deadlines of most colleges, the one exception being the Agriculture College at Dhaka University. Ahmad enrolled in the college and, following his education there, obtained his PhD in genetics and plant breeding from Texas A&M University in the United States.