Norman Ernest Borlaug or commonly known as Norman Borlaug is one of the influential agricultural figures in the development of the agricultural He was born on March 25, 1914, in Cresco, State of Iowa, United States. His parents were immigrants from Norway.
His childhood was spent mostly in agricultural and rural environments in Iowa by studying theoretical and practical knowledge in agriculture or animal husbandry. The agricultural and rural environment has helped him develop his insight into the multi-faceted world of agriculture. In addition, in the field of sports, he is also a hobby wrestling (wrestling).
Norman Borlaug and the World of Education
In the field of education, his love for plants did not fade away. In the field of S-1, he majored in forestry (Forestry) at the University of Minnesota, United States. To help pay for his studies, he has also worked for several institutions such as the Civilian Conservation Corps (an institution that aims to provide employment assistance to young people). In addition, he also worked in the United States Forest Service or forestry department stationed in work areas in the states of Massachusetts and Idaho from 1935 to 1938. In 1937, he completed his undergraduate education and earned a Bachelor of Science (B.S).
Before he graduated from S-1, he attended Sigma Xi lectures (a scientific course). At the event, he met Elvin Charles Stakman (a distinguished professor of plant pathology) at the University of Minnesota. He attended lectures by Elvis Charles Stakman and he feels enthusiastic about the lesson from Stackman. Stakman gave lectures on plant pathology, especially rust disease in wheat, oats, and barley. Professor Stakman managed to find a plant breeding technique so that it has a resistance to rust disease.
Norman Borlaug finally discussed with Stakman his idea regarding taking a master’s degree (S-2) in forest pathology. But in the end, Professor Stakman advised him to focus on taking plant Pathology. This is what finally strengthened Norman Borlaug to take a Master of Science (S-2) in plant pathology under the guidance of Professor Stakman. In the end, he completed his Master of Science (S-2) education in 1940. After that, he then continued his education to a doctoral / S-3 and obtained a doctoral degree (Ph.D.) in the field of plant pathology and genetics in 1942 at the University of Minnesota.
Norman Borlaug and His Career
After graduating from his education till earning his doctorate, he then applied and was accepted to work as a microbiologist at the Agrochemical company Dupont (now Corteva Agriscience) in Wilmington, Delaware from 1942 to 1944. However, due to the emergence of the world war at that time, Research activities, including Norman Borlaug’s research, are prioritized to help the United States war, such as the use of Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane or commonly known as DDT in controlling malaria outbreaks.
After completing his duties at Dupont, he then decided to work at the Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maíz y Trigo (CIMMYT) / International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center. A new agricultural research institute at that time was headquartered in Mexico City, Mexico. The establishment of this institution is a collaboration between the Rockefeller Foundation and the Mexican Government which aims to ensure food safety by carrying out plant breeding activities, especially maize (maize) and wheat (wheat).
During his sixteen years working at CIMMYT, Norman Borlaug managed to develop several semi-dwarfs, disease-resistant, high-yielding wheat varieties. Wheat which is the result of this plant breeding has a short life and has high productivity at that time. Some of the wheat found at that time were Lerma Rojo 64, Siete Cerros, Sonora 64, and Super X.
After the success of his invention of a shorter-stemmed wheat variety in Mexico, he was invited to India to help develop the wheat he created for widespread cultivation in the South Asian region. Wheat testing was carried out extensively in India in several areas in Delhi, Ludhiana, Pant Nagar, Kanpur, Pune, and Indore.
High wheat yields of course resulted in many countries in South Asia importing wheat from the United States such as Lerma Rojo 64 and Sonora 64. India imported 18,000 tons of wheat seed, Pakistan 42,000 tons, and Turkey 21,000 tons. As a result, after a few years, countries such as Pakistan and India were able to meet their domestic wheat needs without having to import them. India could boost a nearly 2-fold increase in production from 12.3 million tons to 20.1 million tons in 1965. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s wheat production increased from only 4.6 million tons to 7.3 million tons in 1970.
In the field of rice cultivation, Norman Borlaug was also involved in the development of shorter-stemmed indica and japonica rice. He is widely involved in international rice research institutes in Los Banos, the Philippines, namely the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Hunan Rice Research Institute in China. The rice he develops also has higher yield productivity than the previous rice varieties.
For his various contributions, dedication, and hardworking in the development of various agricultural crops related to increasing crop yields, Norman Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 by the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Until in the end he was called the “Father of the Green Revolution” because of his involvement to his great contribution in reducing the danger of famine that occurred. In his lecture related to the Nobel Prize, he said that the victory of the green revolution was temporarily able to reduce the dangers of hunger and malnutrition that occurred in humans due to the increase in world food production.
Regarding the green revolution, the term green revolution was coined by an administrator from the United States Agency for International Development (U.S. Agency for International Development) or commonly known as USAID, namely William S. Gaud. This term is finally popular with being used by many people. The green revolution was the development of agriculture in the 1950s to the late 1960s which aimed to increase agricultural production in several parts of the world, by using several new technological breakthroughs including the use of high-yielding varieties, application of chemical fertilizers, chemical agricultural pesticides, and water management (usually involving irrigation) and agricultural mechanization.
After retiring from CIMMYT in 1979, he was heavily involved in various fields such as agricultural research, education, and culture. Borlaug is still active in The World Fertilizer Research Organization, The International Fertilizer Development Center. He also initiated the World Food Prize award or commonly known as the World Food Nobel which he initiated in 1986. Until now, The World Food Prize is still actively giving awards to those who make real and positive contributions to improving the quality and quantity of world food to the public. world. In the field of culture, he participates in a cultural organization, namely the World Cultural Council. While in education, he taught at Texas A&M University until the end of his life.
He has also published many books and various scientific works such as Wheat in The Third World, Ending World Hunger, The Promise of Biotechnology and the Threat of Antiscience Zealotry, Prospects for world agriculture in the twenty-first century, Feeding a World of 10 Billion People: The TVA/IFDC Legacy and several other scientific works. Until finally, Norman Borlaug died on September 12, 2009, at the age of 95 years in Dallas, Texas, United States.
Despite the various negative impacts resulting from the green revolution. Especially the negative impact of environmental pollution and decreased productivity of agricultural land due to excessive agricultural chemical inputs. But at that time, the green revolution initiated by Norman Borlaug and many experts and stakeholders had saved humanity from the effects of the dangers of famine that threatened at that time. Indeed, there are always 2 different sides to an invention or policy being implemented. There will be positive and negative impacts. So, it is necessary to improve the negative impact of the Green Revolution by implementing environmentally friendly and precise agriculture of course.
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Bibliography Norman Borlaug: Father of Green Revolution
World Food Prize. 2021. About Norman Borlaug. Accessed via https://www.worldfoodprize.org/en/dr_norman_e_borlaug/about_norman_borlaug/
On 27 July 2021
Wikipedia. 2021.Norman Borlaug. Accessed via https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Borlaug on 26 July 2021.
Nobelprize.2021. Norman Borlaug Facts. Accessed via https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/1970/borlaug/facts/ on 25 July 2021.