Famed food scientist Borlaug dead

US geneticist Norman Borlaug, credited with developing high-yield crops, dies aged 95.

    Borlaug, left, was a central figure in the Green Revolution that boosted crop output [EPA]

    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.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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