Man Credited for Feeding a Billion People Dies

An American agronomist and humanitarian said to have had the largest positive impact on hunger and starvation in modern history died this past weekend.

According to an announcement, Norman Ernest Borlaug died Saturday night at the age of 95 from complications of cancer.

As a plant pathologist, Borlaug introduced high-yield wheat varieties and modern agricultural techniques to Mexico, Pakistan, and India. As a result, Mexico became a net exporter of wheat by 1963, and Pakistan and India nearly doubled its wheat yields between 1965 and 1970. The food security greatly improved in Pakistan and India because of Borlaug's discovery.

"No single person has contributed more to relieving world hunger than our friend, the late Norman Borlaug," said the Rev. David Beckmann, president of the Christian anti-hunger advocacy group Bread for the World. "Norman was truly the man who fed the world, saving up to a billion people from hunger and starvation."

Aside from having been one of the early trustees of Bread for the World, serving from 1975 to 1980, Borlaug was also one of only five people who have received the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Congressional Gold Medal. He was also a recipient of the Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian honor.

"Dr. Borlaug was an advocate as well as a scientist," Beckmann said. "He convinced many political leaders to do their part in reducing hunger."

Next month, Beckmann will officiate at Borlaug's memorial service at Texas A&M University. The memorial is set for Oct. 6.

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