Royal Society Publishing

Norman Ernest Borlaug. 25 March 1914 — 12 September 2009

Ronald L. Phillips


Norman Ernest Borlaug has commonly been called the father of the ‘Green Revolution’ because of his tireless efforts, beginning in the early 1940s, to make Mexico self-sufficient in wheat production, and his subsequent saving of millions of people in India, Pakistan and elsewhere from starvation through high-yielding wheat varieties. By 1963, Mexico was an exporter of wheat, and wheat yields in Pakistan and India nearly doubled between 1965 and 1970. Similarly, ‘miracle rices’ developed at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) by Hank Beachell and colleagues significantly raised the yields of rice and benefited poor people across Asia.