The legacy of Dr. Norman Borlaug: Celebrating 100 years

Dr. Norman Borlaug, known as the “Father of the Green Revolution,” would have turned 100 on March 25 this year. He dedicated his life to feeding the world by improving the health and yields of cereal crops. To honor his legacy a Borlaug Summit on Wheat for Food Security set out to continue his work throughout the world.

In his lifetime he introduced innovations that accelerated crop breeding and developed new varieties that were hardier and higher-yielding. He first introduced new wheat varieties that combated disease, such the fungus known as stem rust, in Mexico.  He didn’t stop there; Dr. Borlaug took his innovations to India and Pakistan. The harvests that followed with the new seeds produced higher yields in South Asia, and both countries pushed towards self-sufficient cereal production.

For his outstanding contributions to humanity, Dr. Norman Borlaug was the recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal, the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science, to name a few.  When he accepted his Nobel Peace Prize in 1970, he reminded the world that “if you desire peace, cultivate justice, but at the same time cultivate the fields to produce more bread; otherwise there will be no peace.”

It has been estimated that Dr. Borlaug’s efforts saved up to 1.5 Billion people from starvation. When he died at age 95, his children released a statement saying, “We would like his life to be a model for making a difference in the lives of others and to bring about efforts to end human misery for all mankind.”  He remains a beacon of how science and innovation can serve society now and in the future.