» 09/16/2009, 00.00
The man who saved India from famine: Norman Borlaug
He saved almost 245 million people from dying of hunger with his discovery-invention of a “semi-dwarf” wheat plant variety with a shorter, compact stalk. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian Indian award.
New Delhi (AsiaNews) - On the 12th of September, Norman Borlaug, died at 95in Dallas, USA, the scientist-pacifist, the father of the green revolution that, when it was brought to India, removed for ever the danger of starvation and famine. Around the time Borlaug arrived in India in the mid-1960s, the specter of famine, shortages, and starvation hung over the sub-continent, the latest one was in 1964. India was importing huge quantities of food grains from the US – much of it dole – to feed its growing millions.
Then came Borlaug, a strapping, self-made, sun burnt American from the farmland of Iowa, who did his studies in plant pathology and genetics from the university of Minnesota in the early forties. Then he spent more than a decade in Mexico applying his research and Mexico became a net wheat exporter in 1963.
The miracle he had worked out in Mexico was replicated in India with the result that its granaries began to overflow and more and more people in India, accustomed to eat rice, only rice and always rice, started eating more chapatti, nan, roti, pau and sliced bread. In Pakistan too wheat yields doubled.
By cranking up a wheat strain containing an unusual gene, Borlaug created the so-called “semi-dwarf” plant variety with a shorter, compact stalk that supported an enormous head of grain without falling over from the weight. This curious principle of shrinking the plant to increase the output from the acreage, resulted in Indian farmers eventually quadrupling their wheat and later, rice production. This was the secret of the Green Revolution.
Borlaug disdained all awards and honors even making light of the Nobel Peace Prize when his Swedish forbears, in 1970, recognized his enormous contribution to mankind: the whole world benefited from his pioneering work in Mexico.
“More than any other person of this age,” the Nobel citation read, “he helped provide bread for a hungry world. We also made this choice in the hope that providing bread will also give the world peace”. According to some estimates Borlaug’s invention saved around 245 million people from dying of hunger.
He was also recipient of the Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian Indian award.
Drought and Famine in India due to scarce monsoons
The rains during this monsoon season had been scarce, sometime not even half of the normal. Some states had already declared a state of drought. The rice harvest will be 10 millions tons less. The specter of starvation is threatening India.
Afghanistan could feed its population and avert the world food crisis
All it would have to do is replace its massive opium production with wheat, and it could feed the Afghan population, 70% of which suffers from hunger. A study by the FAO, the UN food and agriculture agency, has revealed that by devoting more money to irrigation systems, this dream could become reality.
Good news for the recovery of the Indian economy
In the last 6 months the growth has gone from 5.3 to 6.1. The leading industries being Electricity generation and mining output. Singh said: “The worst may be over, but the road is long”. The energetic deficit caused by the importation of petrol and coal must be urgently solved.
The euphoria of the Indian Economy after the results of the elections
The Indian stock market rose by 18 points in two days, a sign of trust in the Congress and in Singh. There is anticipation for the liberalization of direct foreign investments and a political system that is able to eradicate the poverty in the slums and rural area.
A Caritas Campaign: “Save the farmers, Save India”
Caritas India will launch a national campaign in April with the slogan, “Save the farmers, Save India” in order to help the regretful phenomenon, which is spreading across the country: suicides amongst farmers. The loss of crops and insurmountable debt has driven farmers into poverty and desperation. They see suicide as the only way to salvation.
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul": A Christmas gift to survive winter
As Iraqi troops advance in the Nineveh Plain and Mosul, a new wave of refugees could overshadow the fate of other refugees who found hospitality in Kurdistan. People need kerosene, winter clothes, aid for children, and money for rent. The campaign AsiaNews launched two years ago is more urgent than ever. Give up a superfluous gift to offer refugees an essential gift for life.
Pastor of Amadiya: Mosul’s Christian refugees, torn between emergency aid and the longing to return home
P. Samir Youssef
In a letter Fr. Samir Youssef describes the situation of refugees, exiled from their home for more than two years. They are closely following the offensive to retake Mosul, although their homes and churches "are for the most part" burned or destroyed. With the arrival of winter there is a serve lack of heating oil, clothes, food and money to pay for their children’s school bus. An appeal to continue to support the AsiaNews campaign.
30/11/2016 CHINA - VATICAN
30/11/2016 CHINA - VATICAN
01/12/2016 CHINA - VATICAN
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.