Borlaug: the father of the green revolution

03 Apr, 2014 01:00 AM
Food is the moral right of all who are born into this world

HE was the Iowan farm boy who grew up to have an impact on farms all over the world.

Legendary wheat breeder Dr Norman Borlaug would have turned 100 last week.

He died in 2009, aged 95, credited with saving a billion people from starvation.

Dr Borlaug is considered the father of the Green Revolution – a wave of farm research starting in the late 1960s that changed agriculture worldwide.

He remains one of only seven people to win the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the US’s highest civilian honour, the Congressional Gold Medal.

Raised on a farm near Cresco, Iowa, Borlaug devoted his career to helping farmers grow food more efficiently.

He headed up the wheat program at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico for its first 16 years and remained a part-time consultant to the centre until his death.

His development of high-yielding, disease-resistant wheat varieties would revolutionise wheat production not only in Mexico but India and Pakistan as well as impact in many developed countries.

Dr Borlaug’s legacy continues at the Campo Experimental Norman E. Borlaug (CENEB) – a research station near Obregon in Mexico’s Yaqui Valley where he conducted much of his work and that is still used by CIMMYT.

A statue of Borlaug continues his watch over the next crop.

Click on the image above for a full photo gallery

4 things you didn't know about Norman Borlaug

  • He grew up on a small farm in north east Iowa
  • He was a star wrestler in high school and college
  • He did a degree in forestry before studying plant pathology
  • He was working in a wheat field in Mexico when he found out he'd won the Nobel Prize. He thought it was a joke.
  • Date: Newest first | Oldest first


    3/04/2014 5:52:35 AM

    Did this giant among men use GM ?
    3/04/2014 7:41:38 AM

    He used what technology was available at the time .
    3/04/2014 8:51:04 AM

    And, Mug, in the last 20 years of his life (and I heard him say so) he was a great supporter of GM technology as an important tool for increasing food production. So no, he didn't use it because he was retired but he was no troll!
    3/04/2014 8:58:49 AM

    To answer your question, Mug, no this giant did not use GM because he had retired by the time it came in. However, he was a great supporter of the use of the technology in the struggle for increased food production on the same amount of land and I had the honour to be present on one of the many occasions when he strongly spoke in support of the increased use of GM technology.
    3/04/2014 9:14:21 AM

    And it fact, this giant of humanity had absolutely no time or respect for the anti-GM brigade because he had suffered the flea bites of their forebears in the 50s and 60s who preferred 3rd world peasant farmers to continue with organic agriculture and starve in their millions! He did not let this happen and hence his Nobel Peace Prize .
    3/04/2014 11:08:28 AM

    Now this is interesting. Ever wondered where Castrol came from ? Originally Castrol was The Castor Oil Company. Now this illustrates just how stupid Monsanto were when they interfered with food production. Imagine where we would be now if they had gone into growing lubricating oil. The technology would have been accepted overnight. Instead they are still trying to control the food production and meeting massive buyer resistance. Stupid or naive or just plain money grubbing ?


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