Nobel laureate calls for 'Green Revolution'
COLLEGE STATION - Thomas Jefferson once said "every generation needs a new revolution."
If that is so, then Dr. Norman Borlaug, father of the original Green Revolution, is inviting this generation to begin a second, more extensive, rebellion against world hunger.
"The Green Revolution hasn't been won yet," said Borlaug, who will turn 95 later this month. "Developing nations need the help of agricultural scientists, researchers, administrators and others in finding ways to feed ever-growing populations."
A Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Congressional Gold Medal recipient, Borlaug has been credited with saving more lives than anyone in history. His work has led to breakthrough high-yield, disease-resistant wheat harvests in Mexico, India, Pakistan and countries throughout Latin America, Africa and the Near and Middle East. As a result, hundreds of millions of people have been provided with an otherwise unavailable food supply.
"The Food Security Act of 2009 can lead the way in starting a second Green Revolution by helping improve agriculture and food security in developing countries," Borlaug said.
The Lugar-Casey Global Food Security Act was recently introduced by Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and was developed with bipartisan support from Sen. Robert Casey, D-Penn. Lugar described the bill as a "more focused effort on our part to join with other nations to increase yields, create economic opportunities for the rural poor and broaden agricultural knowledge…" and said it could begin a new era in U.S. diplomacy.
Borlaug added that in a second Green Revolution U.S. landgrant institutions would play an important role in contributing to worldwide food security.
He noted t hat land-grant institutions, such as Texas A&M University, where he has been a distinguished professor since 1984, provide developing countries with technical assistance, educational outreach, improved technolog y and agr icultural practices, scientific training and research, and hands-on instruction.
"The forgotten world is made up primarily of the developing nations, where most of the people, comprising more than 50 percent of the total world population, live in poverty, with hunger as a constant companion," Borlaug said. "Land-grant institute efforts are essential in helping people around the world achieve a more lasting food security."
He added that, as global interdependence and the world food crisis continue to grow, so does the importance of these institutions in helping poor and developing countries gain better economic and social stability through agriculture and agribusiness.
"Even though my grandfather will be 95 years old later this month, his desire and effort toward resolv ing world food security issues and inspiring others to join him in that effort hasn't diminished one bit over the years," said Julie Borlaug, manager of external relations for the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture at Texas A&M University.
The Borlaug Institute currently leads or plays a significant role in international agriculture projects in Iraq, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Guatemala, El Salvador and other foreign countries. Many of these efforts are funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Department of Defense or the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
"Dr. Borlaug's agricultural achievements to combat hunger have saved countless lives and inspired others to follow in his footsteps," said U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards, D -Waco, who supported a bill to award Borlaug the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by the U.S. government.
When Borlaug was awarded the medal in 2007, he said he hoped it would "help inspire young professionals to get involved in helping solve the world food crisis."
Borlaug remains active as an advocate for world food security. He continues to lecture at Texas A&M and serves as a mentor for participants in the Borlaug Fellows Program, established in his honor in 2004 by the USDA.
The Borlaug Fellows Program brings foreign students, scholars, scientists and policymakers to the U.S. to train and collaborate with American agricultural experts.
"The world owes a debt of gratitude to Dr. Borlaug, and we at the institute that carries his name are glad to be involved in his efforts to help initiate a second Green Revolution to bring greater worldwide food security," said Dr. Edwin Price, director of the Borlaug Institute.