Monday, September 14, 2009
On a previous occasion I lietsecNroman Volrlaug as pretty much the one deserved winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
1970From Reason magazine
NORMAN BORLAUG , Led research at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, Mexico City. Major figure in the real Green revolution (ie increasing agricultural yields. Not a politician & the most worthy recipient. GRAND Mughal Akbar once remarked he would venerate the person who could grow two blades of grass where one grew previously - this scientist qualifies.
Norman Borlaug, the man who saved more human lives than anyone else in history, has died at age 95. Borlaug was the Father of the Green Revolution, the dramatic improvement in agricultural productivity that swept the globe in the 1960s...Unlike today's "Green" doomsayers Borlaug devoted his life to the Green Revolution - the creation of new varieties of crops. Even if the statement that he "saved a billion lives" is somewhat exaggerated he is one of the few Nobel Peace Prize winners who stands tall compared to winners of the non-political prizes.
Borlaug grew up on a small farm in Iowa and graduated from the University of Minnesota, where he studied forestry and plant pathology, in the 1930s. In 1944, the Rockefeller Foundation invited him to work on a project to boost wheat production in Mexico. At the time Mexico was importing a good share of its grain. Borlaug and his staff in Mexico spent nearly 20 years breeding the high-yield dwarf wheat that sparked the Green Revolution, the transformation that forestalled the mass starvation predicted by neo-Malthusians.
In the late 1960s, most experts were speaking of imminent global famines in which billions would perish. "The battle to feed all of humanity is over," biologist Paul Ehrlich famously wrote in his 1968 bestseller The Population Bomb. "In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now." Ehrlich also said, "I have yet to meet anyone familiar with the situation who thinks India will be self-sufficient in food by 1971." He insisted that "India couldn't possibly feed two hundred million more people by 1980."
But Borlaug and his team were already engaged in the kind of crash program that Ehrlich declared wouldn't work. Their dwarf wheat varieties resisted a wide spectrum of plant pests and diseases and produced two to three times more grain than the traditional varieties. In 1965, they had begun a massive campaign to ship the miracle wheat to Pakistan and India and teach local farmers how to cultivate it properly. By 1968, when Ehrlich's book appeared, the U.S. Agency for International Development had already hailed Borlaug's achievement as a "Green Revolution."
Labels: International politics