Monday, September 14, 2009

Dr Norman Borlaug, the man who fed the world

A Nobel Peace Prize winner who is credited with expanding food production and fighting world hunger has passed away. Dr. Norman Borlaug died Saturday night at the age of 95.

From this Associated Press story that we found at North we read more of Dr. Borlaug's contribution to the world.

The Nobel committee honored Mr. Borlaug in 1970 for his contributions to high-yield crop varieties and bringing other agricultural innovations to the developing world. Many experts credit the green revolution with averting global famine during the second half of the 20th century and saving perhaps 1 billion lives.

Thanks to the green revolution, world food production more than doubled between 1960 and 1990. In Pakistan and India, two of the nations that benefited most from the new crop varieties, grain yields more than quadrupled.

Equal parts scientist and humanitarian, the Iowa-born Mr. Borlaug realized improved crop varieties were just part of the answer, and pressed governments for farmer-friendly economic policies and improved infrastructure to make markets accessible. A 2006 book about Mr. Borlaug is titled "The Man Who Fed the World."

"He has probably done more and is known by fewer people than anybody that has done that much," said Dr. Ed Runge, retired head of Texas A&M University's Department of Soil and Crop Sciences and a close friend who persuaded Mr. Borlaug to teach at the school. "He made the world a better place — a much better place. He had people helping him, but he was the driving force."

Mr. Borlaug began the work that led to his Nobel in Mexico at the end of World War II. There he used innovative breeding techniques to produce disease-resistant varieties of wheat that produced much more grain than traditional strains.

He and others later took those varieties and similarly improved strains of rice and corn to Asia, the Middle East, South America and Africa.

"More than any other single person of his age, he has helped to provide bread for a hungry world," Nobel Peace Prize committee Chairman Aase Lionaes said in presenting the award to Mr. Borlaug.

1 comment:

Ringo said...

Thanks for reminding me and everyone who cares. Unfortunately, I only knew Dr. Norman Borlaug and his work when Penn and Teller told those people with doubts about "modern" agricultural practices to check Dr. Borlaug's work. Dr. Norman Borlaug's contribution to agricultural science probably saved countless billions of people across the globe.