Norman Borlaug [Volume 14 No. 4 (2014)]


The efforts of Dr. Norman Borlaug
Tom Lumpkin

The efforts of Dr. Norman Borlaug, the father of the Green Revolution, to introduce dwarf, rust-resistant, high-yielding wheat varieties during the 1960s are estimated to have saved more than one billion lives. When he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970, Dr. Borlaug said that “man can and must prevent the tragedy of famine in the future instead of merely trying with pious regret to salvage the human wreckage of the famine, as he has so often done in the past.”

Nearly 45 years later, demand for wheat is still increasing, at a rate where production is not keeping up with demand. Hunger and malnutrition disproportionately affect women in farming households by stagnating economic growth and impeding maternal and child nutrition. Billions of men, women and children worldwide depend on wheat as their staple crop and main source of income. In Africa, $18 billion is spent annually to import wheat grain and foodstuffs. Increasing the amount of wheat grown in Africa can make the continent more food-secure and decrease the costs of those imports.