Famed food scientist Borlaug dead
US geneticist Norman Borlaug, credited with developing high-yield crops, dies aged 95.
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2009 13:17 GMT
Borlaug, left, was a central figure in the Green Revolution that boosted crop output [EPA]

A US agricultural scientist credited with developing high-yielding crops to help prevent famine in the developing world has died.

Norman Borlaug, who received the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize for his achievements, died on Saturday at the age of 95, Texas A&M University said in a statement.

He was suffering from cancer, the statement added.

Borlaug was a central figure in the Green Revolution that made more food available for the world's hungry.

The revolution led to the development of crops such as wheat with higher yields than traditional strains.

It is also credited with helping avert hunger that had been predicted in the developing world in the last half of the 20th century.

Saving lives

Experts have said Borlaug's crusade to develop high-yielding, disease-resistant crops saved the lives of millions of people worldwide who otherwise may have been doomed to starvation.

In a 2006 US Congressional tribute, Borlaug was described as a scientist who had "saved more lives than any other person who has ever lived".

He was also praised for likely having "saved more lives in the Islamic world than any other human being in history".

In 2007, Borlaug received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honour of the US.

"We all eat at least three times a day in privileged nations, and yet we take food for granted," Borlaug said in a recent interview.

"There has been great progress, and food is more equitably distributed. But hunger is commonplace, and famine appears all too often."

In 1944, in the capacity of geneticist and plant pathologist, he was assigned the job of organising and directing the Co-operative Wheat Research and Production Programme in Mexico.

This joint undertaking of the Mexican government and the Rockefeller Foundation philanthropic organisation focused upon scientific research in genetics, plant breeding and related fields that led to the Green Revolution.

Borlaug also served as a distinguished professor of international agriculture at Texas A&M University, located in College Station, Texas.

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