Global Economy
Norman Borlaug - - Father of Green Revolution - - dies; Credited with saving more lives than any other person who has ever lived
By Michael Hennigan, Founder and Editor of Finfacts
Sep 14, 2009 - 6:45 AM

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Dr. Norman Borlaug (1914-2009), winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970, is called the Father of the Green Revolution and in the words of US Senator Charles Grassley, "saved more lives than any other person who has ever lived."
American agricultural scientist Norman Borlaug died at his home in Dallas, Texas Saturday at the age of 95. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his work in reducing hunger through dramatic increases in crop yields, which earned him the title - - father of the Green Revolution. Dr. Borlaug is credited with saving more lives than any other person who has ever lived. "More than any other single person of this age, he has helped provide bread for a hungry world," the Nobel committee said in honouring him." Dr. Borlaug has introduced a dynamic factor into our assessment of the future and its potential."  In more recent times, Professor M.S.Swaminathan, President, National Academy of Agricultural Sciences of India, said at a Congressional Medal of Honor award ceremony in July 2007:  "The impact of the Borlaug-led Green Revolution symphony will be clear from the fact that during 1964-68, Indian farmers increased wheat production in four years by an order greater than that achieved during the preceding 4000 years."

Dr. Borlaug took issue with the scaremongering about genetically modified  (GM) food.

"They claim that the consumer is being poisoned out of existence by the current high-yielding systems of agricultural production and recommend we revert back to lower-yielding, so-called sustainable technologies," he said in a speech in New Orleans in 1993.

Unfortunately, he said, it is not possible to turn the clock back to the 1930s, when the population of the world was 2.2 billion. It was estimated at 5.6 billion in 1995 and was projected to rise to 8.3 billion by 2025.

Named by TIME Magazine as one of the 100 most influential minds of the 20th century, Norman Borlaug was born in 1914 to Norwegian-American parents outside Cresco in the north-eastern part of the American State of Iowa.

In 1944, Dr. Borlaug participated in the Rockefeller Foundation's pioneering technical assistance program in Mexico, where he was a research scientist in charge of wheat improvement. For the next sixteen years, he worked to solve a series of wheat production problems that were limiting wheat cultivation in Mexico and to help train a whole generation of young Mexican scientists.

The work in Mexico not only had a profound impact on Dr. Borlaug's life and philosophy of agriculture research and development, but also on agricultural production, first in Mexico and later in many parts of the world.

It was on the research stations and farmers' fields of Mexico that Dr. Borlaug developed successive generations of wheat varieties with broad and stable disease resistance, broad adaptation to growing conditions across many degrees of latitude, and with exceedingly high yield potential.

These new wheat varieties and improved crop management practices transformed agricultural production in Mexico during the 1940's and 1950's and later in Asia and Latin America, sparking what today is known as the Green Revolution.

SEE; Finfacts article, April 2008:

Global Food Crisis: Malthus, Food Price Surge, Climate Change and a 42% rise in World Population by 2050

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