Tributes and memories of Norman E. Borlaug, 1914–2009

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Tributes from partners, friends, and followers
I was deeply saddened by the death of my comrade Dr. Norman Borlaug last Saturday. For nearly 25 years he had worked tirelessly with us for agricultural development in sub-Saharan Africa. Dr. Borlaug was a man of conviction and courage. Although over 70 years old when we started our Africa project, he was determined, through the establishment of the Sasakawa Africa Association, to incentivize and encourage Africa’s small-scale farmers, and thereby confront a deep and fundamental cause of poverty in Africa. He worked for this right up to the time of his death. I had the privilege of travelling with Dr. Borlaug to Africa on many occasions. He was never happier than when he was in farmers’ fields talking to Africa’s farmers. Much of Dr. Borlaug’s long life was spent in the cause of developing agriculture. Now we must respect his wishes and continue our concerted efforts to attain the goals he set for us and for himself. I pray that his soul rests in peace.
Mr. Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman, The Nippon Foundation

My sincere condolences to the family of my colleague, Dr. Norman Borlaug. For nearly 25 years Dr. Borlaug, as President of the Sasakawa Africa Association, had worked for the alleviation of hunger and poverty in sub-Saharan African countries. During the time I served as Director General of CIMMYT, Dr. Borlaug was actively visiting African countries and encouraging and motivating field scientists. His determination and leadership were inspirational to thousands of people across the world in striving to bring about a second green revolution. I hope that in the years to come, agricultural scientists and development specialists will follow Dr. Borlaug’s example and work at the front line for the elimination of hunger in sub-Saharan Africa. May his soul rest in peace.
Dr. Masaru Iwanaga, Vice-Chair, the Sasakawa Africa Association

Bread of Heaven – Feed us till we want no more
You tell me I must perish
Like the millions I helped nourish
Something remaining of my name
Something remembered of my fame
But the wheats I bred in Mexico, are still young
And the Yaqui genes, will still express their humanitarian song

The verse is an adaptation of a verse composed by Huexotzin, Prince of Texcoco, Mexico, circa. 1484
Dr. Clive James, Founder and Chair, ISAAA; former deputy director General, CIMMYT

I was shocked at the news of the death of the Dr. Norman Borlaug, Hunger fighter and father of the Green Revolution. Vietnam people, especially who are working in agricultural sector, know Dr. Norman Borlaug very well and his works are familiar to many scientists. Please convey our deepest sympathy to his family and relatives, as well as organizations where he spent time.
Dr. Nguyen Van Bo, president, Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences

We will remember his exceptional leadership and contribution to food security and the fight against hunger, which is recognized worldwide. We will also remember his valuable and permanent support for breeding programs and for the strengthening of agriculture and livestock programs in our countries. From FORAGRO, we send our deepest condolences.
Mario Allegri, chair, Forum for the Americas on Agricultural Research and Technology Development (FORAGRO)

From REDBIO, we send our condolences to the family. Please convey our sympathy for a great loss to Dr. Borlaug’s family from more than 5,000 Latin American biotechnicians.
Juan Izquierdo, FAO, Latin America and the Caribbean, and REDBIO

It is difficult to write a short message about Norman E. Borlaug. He was such a kind soul with the uppermost thing in his mind being the hungry people around the world and a burning desire to help alleviate their hunger. Though Norm’s primary responsibility was wheat, he was always ready and willing to listen and discuss what we were doing in the maize program for poor farmers and consumers around the globe. He had a special soft corner for quality protein maize, and it is due to his special interest, support, and contributions that QPM is now making significant impact in improving the nutritional quality of diet of poor people in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.
Ripusudan L. Paliwal, former director, Maize Program, CIMMYT

We are deeply saddened by the saddest news of passing away of Nobel Laureate Dr. Norman Borlaug. He has been a household name in India. With his passing away, the whole world has lost the greatest friend of farmers and the poor. The greatest tribute that we and the humanity at large can pay to Dr. Borlaug is to dedicate ourselves to make this world hunger free. Our heartfelt condolences to Bill and Norma and their families, to the CIMMYT family, and to the global family of farmers.
R.B. Singh, former ADG, FAO A&P; DDG-Crops ICAR, India

A great and humble man has left us. I hope the CGIAR can honor him with performance, not talks and speeches.
Peter Hartman, director general, IITA

AVRDC wishes to formally offer its condolences on the death of CIMMYT’s most renowned son. I was privileged to meet Dr. Borlaug on several occasions and his clear dedication for fighting on behalf of the poor and hungry worldwide remains an example to us all today. Though it is apparently popular to undermine the efforts of the CGIAR Centers today, I believe that CIMMYT and all its scientists have made a Herculean contribution to improving livelihoods worldwide and I hope that you will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Dyno Keatinge, director general, AVRDC-The World Vegetable Center

Today is the first time for all of us to experience a world without Norman Borlaug….Mourning is not something that Dr. Borlaug would appreciate. I think we need to celebrate his life and rededicate ourselves to sustaining the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative. To know that a durable solution was finally in hand for black stem rust would cause Dr. Borlaug to rest in peace.
Ronnie Coffman, director, International Programs, Cornell University

When I was traveling with Norm in Japan in 1990 he told me his proudest accomplishment was introducing Little League Baseball into Mexico. I thought it was an extraordinary statement from a Nobel Peace Prize winner and oh so typical of the man.
Edward W. Sulzberger

I am deeply sorry to hear this news. Very best wishes to you and my colleagues at CIMMYT.
Helen Leitch, WorldFish

We deeply regret the departure of Dr. Norman Borlaug, world leader in wheat research, and extend our condolences to his family. We will always remember his advice to international wheat trainees and his walks between dwarf wheat plots searching for rust pustules under the hot Mexican weather.
Dr. Beatriz Alida Pérez, 1984 CIMMYT wheat trainee, INTA-IMYZA, Argentina

I will really miss Dr. Borlaug….His legacy will live forever but that does not fill the void that now exists…he can be compared to Winston Churchill, Dwight Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur and history’s famous people for his contributions….They won the war but he won the food war.
Ed Runge, Texas A&M University

I was privileged to know Norm Borlaug in Mexico/Pakistan in the early years and later in Kenya/Ethiopia/Tanzania while he was leading the Global-2000 program. He was always inspirational in research/training sessions especially during plot visits and in farmers’ fields. At Egerton University, Kenya, in 1995, 100 faculty marveled at his energy leading a seminar after an afternoon with CMRT trainees in the field. The world has lost a true friend.
Fred Palmer, maize agronomist, CIMMYT, 1968-96

I was in the Wheat Program under Norm and then Glen Anderson from 1970 to 1975. But if anyone wants to know what a radical scientist he was before then, they should read his address to the Wheat Genetics Symposium in Canberra in 1968. Norm was a practical agricultural scientist, committed to making a difference, guided by hard work, common sense, and empathy with farmers and people from developing countries. He ran a tight ship, even on the night of the Nobel in Londres 40 he was quoting from the epic Argentine poem, Martin Fierro, on the virtues of toil and sweat of the brow, but he also understood and used good science, more than anyone setting in place the culture of effective applied science that has served CIMMYT well over the years. He mellowed with time, became a good listener and learner, and even an advocate of agronomic research, as much as of breeding and sound policy. He had a knack for challenging and inspiring his audience, especially the young. I learnt to be more concerned about the big picture and practical impact of my science through working with him.
Tony Fischer, former director of CIMMYT’s Wheat Program

Norman Borlaug has been an ongoing inspiration for my entire professional career in working with wheat for almost 50 years. I recall the great thrill of his visit to Australia in 1968 when as a relatively young researcher I could see and meet him for the first time. As Norm was a classmate of I.A. Watson, my professor and boss for many years, and we were always kept informed of his ongoing leadership and worldwide achievements. His passing is a great loss to generations of followers, from past colleagues to new graduate students, and I am sure his memory will inspire many of us to achieve greater things in the years to come. My condolences go to the family, and to all close acquaintances and friends to whom he is sadly missed.
Bob McIntosh, Plant Breeding Institute Cobbitty, University of Sydney, Australia

In 1998 I visited CIMMYT-Mexico. Dr. Borlaug gave us a lecture on general breeding for QPM, and also I read many of his papers. Dr. Borlaug was a strong breeder; he was not young, but his ideas were always fresh and impressive. Goodbye, Dr. Borlaug; maize breeders in Indonesia will always remember you!
Yasin Hasanul

Though I no longer cover agriculture or its related industries, I must salute the passing of an extraordinary human being. When I first started writing about global agriculture in the late 1980s, Norman Borlaug was easily the most famous name in the business. That his fame and reputation remained long after he retired and is synonymous with extraordinary scientific achievement that benefited mankind in the same way as the invention of penicillin is a testament that any man would envy. May he rest in peace.
Nessa Keogh, journalist

A great man never dies. Dr. Borlaug was a great man and he will always live on in our hearts.
M. R. Jalal Kamali on behalf CIMMYT-Iran staff

I first met Norm in 1975 in Bangladesh on his whirlwind tour of the region. I continued to interact with him for the rest of my 28 years at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and at CIMMYT. He motivated me and showed me the importance of international agricultural development and the importance of devoting one’s life to helping the less fortunate in need in developing countries. We will sorely miss his tenacity in future complexities of agriculture.
Peter Hobbs, former CIMMYT principal scientist and regional representative-South Asia

I met Dr. Borlaug in 1976 at CIANO plots during my interview for a post doctorate position as a wheat pathologist. For the next 13 years I saw him around the plots of CIANO, El Batán, and Toluca; he was always charismatic and energetic. The passage of time enhanced his noble profile and his later retirement lessened none of his enthusiasm. I pledge to keep his memory alive in my students and in my students’ students.
Enrique Torres, professor emeritus of Universidad Nacional de Colombia; former CIMMYT wheat pathologist 1976-89

In Obregon in the late 1970s there was always a shortage of threshers at harvest time; everyone in the Wheat Program would scramble to get them. At times tempers got very frayed. Norm would observe this from a distance and just laugh. “I love to see people fighting to get their work done,” he would say, chuckling. Rest in Peace, Norm. You will be sorely missed.
Pat Wall, director, Global Conservation Agriculture Program, CIMMYT

Stories of the green revolution and Borlaug’s Nobel Prize inspired me to visit CIMMYT with my American High School class when I was clueless about what to do with my life. As a CIMMYT post-doc, I was inspired by Norman’s words “never underestimate the value of hard work,” giving hope that any one of us can contribute to the enormous task of feeding the world. Several years later as a Program Director, I was challenged me by Norman saying “we need another touchdown!” He will continue to inspire me and countless thousands for the rest of our lives, and together we must and we will score many “touchdowns” against global hunger and poverty.
Kevin Pixley, associate director, Global Maize Program

In this sad moment, I join with CIMMYT personnel and with millions of people who owe to Dr. Borlaug gratitude, admiration and learning.
Dr. Fidel Márquez-Sánchez, Colegio de Postgraduados

Never in recent history has so much been owed by so many to one man, and that man is Dr. Norm Borlaug. He was inspirational to all that met him; a humanitarian who made sure the world was and is being fed; and modest to the extent that few knew what he had accomplished. The best way I can describe him is to say that he was God’s humane five-star general to fight hunger. I am blessed to have known him.
Scott McLean, former CIMMYT scientist

Since I first met Dr. Borlaug over 40 years ago, his courage, determination, and missionary zeal has inspired me and has had a huge impact on my life and work. His life-long dedication to the eradication of hunger affected my view, and that of others, about the value and purpose of our work and how it contributes to the big picture. He was a wonderful listener and had faith in the young people he taught throughout his life. He was always supportive, a good friend, and an extraordinary human being. God bless him and all he has given the world.
Linda Ainsworth, former CIMMYT staff

Norm Borlaug was a humanist, mentor, and friend. His dedication to humanity became the overriding theme in his work and he was blessed with an indefatigable spirit to win. In relation to a paper I was writing recently, I asked him what, besides the scientific bases, was critical for the success of the wheat program. He said: “The will to win—don’t give up.” May his spirit continue.
Jesse Dubin, former Wheat Program associate director, CIMMYT

Dr Borlaug’s life was a great inspiration for us all to leave the world a better place through professional dedication, commitment to public service, and belief in humanity.
Matthew Reynolds, on behalf of the CIMMYT Wheat Physiology Group

Dr. Norman Borlaug will always live in our hearts and we will do our best to forward his noble mission and spirit of innovation. Through the CIMMYT-Kazakhstan condolences are expressed for the following: Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan; Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan; Kazakh National Agrarian University; Kazakh National University; KazAgro Innovation JSC, Kazakhstan; National Biological Research Center, Kazakhstan; National Center on Biotechnology, Kazakhstan; Aktobe Agricultural Research Station, Kazakhstan; Altay Agricultural Research Institute (ARI) of Crop Production and Breeding, Russia; East-Kazakhstan ARI, Kazakhstan; Kazakh ARI of Plant Protection, Almaty; Karabalyk Agricultural Research Station, Kostanay province, Kazakhstan; Karaganda ARI of Crop Production and Breeding, Kazakhstan; Krasnoufimsk Breeding Station, Russia; Kurgan ARI, Russia; ARI of Biosafety, Zhambyl province, Kazakhstan; Scientific Production Centre (SPC) of Farming and Crop Production, Almaty province, Kazakhstan; SPC of Grain Production, Akmola province, Kazakhstan; Omsk State Agricultural University, Russia; Pavlodar ARI, Kazakhstan; Scientific-production Breeding Enterprise ‘Fiton,’ Kostanay province, Kazakhstan; Siberian ARI of Crop Production and Breeding, Novosibirsk, Russia ; Siberian ARI, Omsk, Russia; Cheliabinsk ARI, Russia.
Professor Murat Karabayev, representative in Kazakhstan, CIMMYT

CIMMYT has a high reputation among national programs because it follows Borlaug’s vision and spirit. I was so honored to have stayed in the same visiting scientist building with Norman for more than a year. He was always available to talk with me and I learned from him that hard work, a positive attitude, and never giving-up is the key for success. He influenced three generations of Chinese scientists and he was a great mentor and friend for us.
He Zhonghu, CIMMYT representative in China and principal scientist

In 1983 John Woolston, Director of Information Sciences at IDRC, visited CIMMYT to provide project funding for specialized information and modern library services. Norm was skeptical about this undertaking. “CIMMYT’s information lies in its seeds,” he said, “and resources should not be diverted from research.” However, in later years he often expressed his appreciation for the quality services provided by the Scientific Information Unit and became a convinced user.
Dr. Edith Hesse, head of Corporate Communications and Capacity Strengthening at CIAT, Cali, Colombia

Dr. Borlaug taught me about international agricultural research and its profound impact on humanity. I believe his mission lives forever in me and in all those working at CIMMYT, now and in the future. Thank you, Dr. Borlaug. I send my prayers for peace and my sincere condolence to the family.
Suketoshi Taba, head of Maize Germplasm Bank, CIMMYT

1986, 4:15 a.m., CIMMYT Cafeteria: My first visit to CIMMYT as a Ph.D. student. One man only is having breakfast. I ask if I could join. He introduces himself as Norman Borlaug. At 10:15 a.m., one life’s legend later, I knew I wanted to work at CIMMYT and dedicate my career to developing countries. Which I did. Thank you, Norman, for the inspiration.
Anatole Krattiger, associate scientist, CIMMYT, 1988-91

During Dr. Borlaug’s two visits to Afghanistan and his following efforts impressed Afghan wheat workers. He will be remembered forever as a great human being and hero.
Dr.M.A.Osmanzai, director general of Research & Extension in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation & Livestock (MAIL), Kabul, Afghanistan

We have lost a great champion of the wheat world. I remember his words in Obregon about asking him to give the wheat community another five years to hit a century. He’ll always be with us in our thoughts.
Harbans Bariana, University of Sydney, Australia

My interactions with Dr. Norman Borlaug stretch over almost 30 years. As a wheat breeder he regularly asked to be updated, starting off with, “What’s new?” As I gained more years at CIMMYT, he told me “When you are very young you need to work with all relevant policy-makers and be careful with what you say, but as you reach a more senior position you need to speak out more strongly on topics and areas where you think the wrong direction is being taken.”
Maarten van Ginkel, former head of CIMMYT’s irrigated wheat breeding program

I am sending my deepest sympathies for the death of Norm last weekend. It is truly the passing of an era, and wheat breeding will never be the same again with no Borlaug.
Tim Reeves, Australia


It is with shock and terrible sadness that I receive this message. Dr. Norman Borlaug is the father not only for CIMMYT, but he is the father of all plant breeders throughout the world. I feel I lack the words, letters, and sentences to express my sadness and mourning of the passing of Dr. Norman Borlaug, father of the Green Revolution.
Dr. Dheya P. Yousif, Baghdad, Iraq

My salute to one of the greatest giants of humanity. The world will miss him greatly, me too as I had just met him recently.
Ram Chaudhary

With great sadness we heard about the departure of Dr. Norman Borlaug. May his sole rest in peace and may God give his family the power and faith to bear his absence. The best way we can honor Dr. Borlaug’s memory is by carrying forward his mission and spirit of innovation. May God bless him.
Dr. Faisal Awawdeh, Jordan

Even though I personally did not have the honor of knowing Dr. Borlaug, his deeds moved me personally. Those in my team of Fine Seeds humbly offer our deepest condolences to the CIMMYT community and collaborators.
Adel Yaseen

May the almighty God grant the CIMMYT community the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss and may we in the wheat family sustain the good legacy Dr. Borlaug left behind.
O.G.OLABANJI, Nigeria

We are deeply sorry for the news of Dr. Borlaug passing away. He deserves the recognition of everyone working with wheat, for his dedication and enormous contribution that goes beyond the scientific community and farmers. It was a great privilege knowing him. I hope his example and teaching are forever an inspiration.
Silvia Germán, Uruguay

I lament a lot the death of this innovative and noble man’s death, and I am sure that many of his followers will continue their work in honor of his memory.
MsC. Regla María Cárdenas Travieso, Cuba

The passing of this extremely precious scientist, humanitarian, and the finest citizen is a great loss for the whole world, particularly wheat workers. Borlaug’s concern about those suffering from poverty and his desire for an elimination of global hunger will be carried on by all of us. Continuing his work is one of the best tributes we can pay to him. The students of my lab and the institute pay tribute to the departed soul.
Arun Balasubramaniam

The V.M. Remeslo Myronivka Institute of Wheat of Ukrainian Academy of Agrarian Sciences joins with the CIMMYT community in sorrow for the passing of Dr. Norman Borlaug, creator of the Green Revolution. We will continue to be engaged in wheat improvement, especially through International Nurseries Networks, thus develop efforts of the great cereal scientist.
V. Kochmarskyi, Ukraine

This is the worst news of the year. Dr. Borlaug has left a shoe that will be difficult to fit anyone, but the good thing is that his legacy will continue to live on. May his soul rest in a perfect peace for eternity.
Silvestro K. Meseka, Sudan

I join in morning the loss of a learned and visionary scientist. I fully agree that we should continue to strengthen the international nursery work that was initiated by Dr. Borlaug.
Raman Sehgal

Norman Borlaug was like a father to many of us, so we must convey to the younger generation who he was and all he did for the good of humanity. God rest his soul.
Carlos T. Bainotti, Argentina

India is proud of Dr. Borlaug’s contribution to its agricultural sector, especially to wheat. The Indian Wheat Programme was transformed to meet challenges thanks to the tireless efforts of Dr. Borlaug. Nearly all wheat varieties in India possess Mexican blood, for which Dr. Borlaug is synonymous. We salute Dr. Norman Borlaug for his yeomen service to mankind. We the members of the wheat family of Dharwad Centre, Karnataka State, India, deeply mourn the death of the legendary Dr. Norman Borlaug.
Dr. Ishwar K. Kalappanavar, India

I have learned with sadness about the passing of one of the world’s most renowned scientists; Norman Borlaug contributed significantly to the well being of mankind. His contributions to the world cannot be quantified and it is a sad moment for all of us who are enjoying the fruits of his work. I promise to continue with the good work that he started. May his soul rest in peace.
Tegwe Soko, Zimbabwe

Although I never had the opportunity to meet Dr. Borlaug, I am a beneficiary of his great efforts to humanity. He has left a legacy that shall last for generations to come. He will be greatly missed.
Regina Tende

We commiserate with Dr. Borlaug’s family, colleagues, fellow researchers, especially cereal researchers, over the death of Dr. Borlaug. Saying farewell to the father of the green revolution is difficult, but must accept it and try to effectively continue on his work.
Hossein Akbari Moghaddam, Iran

Such are the heroes of the all nations, of all nationalities.
Muhammad Arshad

The International wheat scientific community will never forget Dr. Norman Borlaug or his achievements and struggle to overcome global hunger. All of us Turkish wheat breeders wish him a peaceful rest forever. May god admit him to heaven. Saludos cordiales.
Dr. Irfan Özberk, Turkey

We will carry forward his mission and spirit of innovation.
Bedada Girma, Ethiopia

I would like to add my deep sadness for the loss of a prominent scientist, mentor, and human model for all of us. Let us remain together in the mission to pay tribute to his memory and spirit.
Mariana Ittu, Romania

I would like to express my deep sadness and condolences for the passing of Dr. Norman Borlaug.
Yahya Shakhatre, Jordan

For me and the world wheat family, we lost a Nobel Peace Laureate and a renowned scientist. I am deeply shocked at the demise of Dr. N.E. Borlaug, an irreparable loss! I wish his soul to be in peace. My best wishes for his children and grand-children.
Dr. M.Moznur Rahman, Bangladesh

We will miss him.
Firdaus Kasim, Indonesia

With a very heavy heart I mourn the passing of Dr. Norman Borlaug, father of the Green Revolution. As agricultural scientists, we should carry forward his mission and the spirit.
Dr. Wenke Liang, China

We are so sad to hear that our great guide to wheat breeding, Dr. Norman Borlaug, has left us. Please pass on our best regards and warm wishes to his family. As Dr. Borlaug’s last words to all BGRI members, “Rust never sleeps!” Yes, yellow rust resistance is always the first criterion for releasing a new wheat variety in Sichuan province, China. We will remember his words and continue to work hard with CIMMYT for poor farmers.
Yuchun Zou, China

All breeders will honor Borlaug´s memory.
José Luis Ramírez Díaz, Mexico

All of us deeply mourn the irreplaceable loss –the death of the Dr. Borlaug. His name and his great life work will always remain in our memory and our hearts.
Yuriy Zelenskiy, Kazakhstan

My deepest condolences to you and to Dr. Borlaug’s family. He was a great example and inspiration for hard work and facing challenges.
Konstantino Matzavraco

The passing of Dr. Borlaug is a great loss to humanity and I am sad to hear this news. We should carry on Dr. Borlaug’s spirit and do our best work to help people all over the world in memory of this great man.
Zhaodong Meng, China

I am deeply grieved by the news that we lost a legendary human, the greatest scientist of our generation, and a person determined to help people. I was associated with him directly in Pantnager in my young days; he also visited my program in Zambia where we had a very personal and intimated talk. The world can not replace him for ages to come. Kindly pass on my condolences to bereaved family members and friends.
B. N. Verma, Zambia

I felt vey sad when I saw the news in many Indian newspaper that the father of the green revolution had passed away. Borlaug will be remembered always for helping make the world free from starvation. More than that, he put us on the us right path for what science can do to improve the welfare of all humanity.
M. Y. Samdur, India

We are deeply sorry about Dr. Norman Borlaug’s passing away. Dr. Borlaug, an extraordinary scientist and human being, shared his wisdom not only in Argentina but around world, which helped increase food production. We send our condolences to his family and colleagues.
Agr. Omar Polidoro, Argentina

The National Agricultural Research Institute (Nepal Agriculture Research Council) mourns the demise of the late Nobel Laureate Norman E. Borlaug. Dr. Borlaug lives in heart of Nepalese scientists and we continue to cherish his values and try to follow his footsteps. We express our respectful tribute to Dr. Bourlaug. May his soul rest in peace!
Ashok Mudwari, Nepal

This is to express my deep sad feelings for the absence of Dr. Norman Borlaug, who with no doubt saved the lives of millions of people. We commit ourselves to feel his presence at all times by continuing his work so that we might add to his own huge achievements.
Dr Salah Hajj Hassan, Lebanon

The last time I met Dr. Borlaug it was in Argentina. He gave a talk over one hour long without notes, totally ad lib. He was an inspiration to all. We got the message!!!
Andre Comeau, Canada

The world has lost a great champion, eminent scientist, and a true friend of developing countries. Dr. Norman Borlaug was committed to alleviating hunger and improving food production technologies. He brought the “Green Revolution” to Asia and Latin America, and spillovers greatly benefited Africa, particularly Ethiopia. On behalf of the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural research (EIAR), I convey my heartfelt condolences to his family, to all members of the BGRI, CIMMYT, and ICARDA and to all he dearly and truly served.
Solomon Assefa, Ethiopia

We all know what Dr. Borlaug has done for humanity and for the poor people of the world, and I am confident that God will save him. My condolences for his family.
Dr. Labdi

May he rest in peace! Receive my condolences on behalf of myself and Agriseed-Co Research. Our work is to make sure that his contributions are driven further to help mankind.
Joseph O. Mito, Kenya

I am very sad about the passing of Dr. Norman Borlaug, a great man. He was a great man, a small bright ray in the darkness of our lives. I am sorry that he is not among us, to help, encourage, and give us hope. Please, accept my deep regret for this big loss. I am with Mexico, with CIMMYT, and with wheat breeders.
Ivan Panayotov, Bulgaria

My condolences to you and to all the CIMMYT family. As a member of the wider CIMMYT family, I assure you that I continue to work on his principle for the goodness of the humanity. I met Dr. Borlaug at North Dakota State University when I was there as a graduate student. I remember him for ever.
Constantinos Josephides, Cyprus

I really sorry to hear about Dr. Borlaug’s passing away. I met him in 1977, when I was a trainee at CIMMYT. I had other various opportunities to learn from him. Also, my late father was one of the first trainees working with him in 1954. Dr. Borlaug’s death is a sad loss for the international scientific community but his contribution against hunger continues to be of great importance worldwide. My sincere condolences to Dr. Borlaug’s family and to all those who were with him in the end.
Carlos Paniagua

We would like to express condolences for the family of Professor Borlaug and to CIMMYT. We are very thankful for the network of exchanging breeding materials, which definitively is very important for the improvement of winter wheat at the global scale. We are sharing together with you the bitterness of this loss. The best memory for him is to continue to do the work which he has initiated.
Alexei Postolatii, Republic of Moldova

I remember when Glen Anderson and Bent Skovman were in Romania and we met in Bucuresti for dinner. The heart of conversation was Norman Borlaug, his brilliant work and his kindness. For science was a big lost when Glen and Bent disappeared. Without Borlaug’ presence the world will be never the same. Even if he was so far from Timisoara, his spirit was and will be very close to us. Our work is a dedication for his memory.
Gallia Butnaru, Romania

We will miss him, not only us scientists, but everyone. I owe him great respect as well as my personal career, since he was the one who put me on the right track.
Prof. Moncef Harrabi, Tunisia

We are sharing the sadness and condolences for the passing of Dr. Norman Borlaug. His achievements are evident in the improvement of global wheat production, poverty alleviation, and sustainable development.
Ali Shafic Shehadeh, Syria

In 1998 I was visited CIMMYT-El Bátan, Mexico, Dr. Borlaug give us lecture about general breeding for quality protein maize and I read many of his papers. Dr. Borlaug is strong breeder, his ideas are always fresh and impressive.
Yasin Hasanul, Indonesia

We extend our sincere words of condolence to such a great person through whom we and our local communities have benefited. As we join in this morning, we wish him a safe journey home and God’s guidance to his family left behind, while we foster his innovative thinking in our domain.
Claud N. Ngepwwung

I share our deepest condolences. May his soul rest in peace. It is an irreparable loss to us and no words can fill the void, but he lives on through his works, which inspire and guide us.
A.M.RAO, India

I´m very sad to hear the news about Dr. Borlaug. A very great scientist went away and this is a big loss for everyone. I had honor to meet Dr. Borlaug at CIMMYT’s Obregon Station in 1994 and we had a talk for several minutes, which made a lasting impression on me. To honor him we should work harder than ever before. He will live in our heart for ever!
Ma Yunxin, China

With enormous sadness, let us remember Dr. Norman Borlaug in the heart forever.
Wang Tao, China

It is indeed sad news.
Dr. Mohamed Nasr, Egypt


This is a great loss to Borlaug’s broad international family of students, wheat scientists, farmers, and international activists for combating world hunger. Dr. Borlaug spent his career inspiring young scientists, mentoring many professionals, and leading by example to champion changes that improve livelihoods across Latin America, Asia, and Africa. He will always be remembered for his great achievements, strong leadership, and his human touch.
Osman Abdalla, Syria

I am sorry for the passing of Norman Borlaug; I believe we lost a great man who devoted his whole life to serving those starving from malnutrition and hunger. I think we must always remember what he said about peace: “If you desire peace, cultivate justice, but at the same time cultivate the fields to produce more bread; otherwise there will be no peace.”
S. Ahmet Bagci, Turkey

Noelia and I join you, friends and colleagues of CIMMYT, in remembering how we were blessed by Dr. Borlaug and how he touched our lives.
Wayne Haag

His Midwestern roots gave him spunk and tenacity to address the political and scientific arena concerning global hunger. We have lost a true hero and an honest friend. I am saddened by this expected news. To his children and grand children, we share your grief and your awe at his unparalleled accomplishments and his international esteem.
Sue Shepard, University of Minnesota (retired)

I know that nobody is immortal, but my heart broke when I heard about the death of the great agricultural scientist (of all time for me): Dr Norman E. Borlaug. I express my deepest condolence for his family and above all the millions of poor farmers in developing countries, like ours, who benefited from his unreserved scientific commitments to increase wheat production and productivity. May his soul rest in peace!
Solomon Gelalcha, Woyessa, Ethiopia

On behalf of the Management of Marcos Juárez Experimental Station and of INTA’s Wheat Breeding Program, we are deeply sorry to hear about Dr. Borlaug’s death. He has been an example for everyone who has known him and he deserves a great recognition for his enormous contributions to mitigate hunger in the world. Please convey our condolences to his family.
Ing. Agron. Marcelo Tolchinsky and Jorge Nisi, Argentina

It is with consternation that I heard of Dr. Borlaug’s death. It is difficult to express the sense of vacuum that he leaves all of us who have been lucky to meeting him with. He was not only great as a scientist, but also as a person. Though we knew he had to leave this world some time, I am still sad because I loved him very much. Please convey my condolences and those of my colleagues from IRTA to CIMMYT’s management.
Conxita Royo, Spain

We are deeply saddened by the passing away of Nobel Laureate Dr. Norman Borlaug. He has been a household name in India and with his passing away, the whole world has lost the greatest friend to farmers and the poor. The greatest tribute that we and the humanity can pay to Dr. Borlaug is to dedicate ourselves to making this world hunger free.
R. B. Singh

It is sad to hear that a great person has passed away. Dr. Norman Borlaug had a passion and commitment to fight against hunger and made a great contribution to the humanity.
M.Yaqub Mujahid

With Dr. Borlaug’s death, another great scientist and humanist has gone from the world scene. To all of us that he was a mentor; it is a sad day. Please convey our deepest sense of condolences to the members of the family and other friends who accompanied him during these past years. We pray that he rests in peace.
Tere and Mohan Kohli, Mexico

Wie schade, was fuer ein grosser Mann. Besten Dank (How sad; what a great man! Thank you)
Klaus M. Leisinger, Switzerland

On behalf of the Agrovegetal Council and in my own name, I´m sending you our sincere condolences for the loss of (your) and our unforgettable TEACHER. Please give our condolences to his family.
Ignacio Solís, Spain

This is very sad news and a tremendous loss for our community. However, Dr. Norman Borlaug will remain for all of us a scientific example, a successful warrior in the fight against starvation and malnutrition, and a friend as well as a mentor. We have to continue working with wheat to follow his achievements and honour his memory.
Alain P. Bonjean, China

I received numerous calls and emails from the Chinese agricultural community, particularly wheat breeders and former CIMMYT trainees and visiting scientists. They wish to express their condolence to CIMMYT and the Borlaug family. Borlaug traveled to China more than 20 times; his first visit was in 1974 during the cultural revolution. He has made significant contributions
to Chinese agriculture through various ways.
He Zhonghu, China

My special memory of Dr. Borlaug occurred on a Saturday morning in 2004 when my son Matthew (age 10) and I found Dr. Borlaug sitting in the CIMMYT cafeteria waiting for an order of hotcakes. Dr. Borlaug welcomed us to his table and wasted no time to start discussing the current events in agriculture; the topic on his mind was biotechnology. He listened intently to Matthew’s views on Bt maize in Kenya. Since I had been working on the Insect Resistant Maize for Africa project for some time, Matthew was well versed in the issues, much to the surprise and approval of Dr. Borlaug. What a wonderful privilege to enjoy hotcakes on a bright summer morning with the Father of the Green Revolution and my son—a breakfast I will never forget.
David Bergvinson, former maize entomologist, CIMMYT; now with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

My sincere condolences for the loss of Dr. Norman Borlaug. His spirit has gone to be with the Eternal Lord, but he is not really dead, for his legacy will live eternally in the minds and the hearts of millions of human beings who will remember him with gratitude. Eternal glory to that who will live forever, Norman Borlaug.
Julio E. Amaya Robles, former production trainee, CIMMYT, 1988

I last saw Dr. Borlaug at the 2006 Africa Fertilizer Summit where he said, “Africa has potential but no one can eat potential; there is no way you can effectively increase food yields by use of organic fertilizer alone.” The biggest honor we can accord him is to try and carry his legacy forward and emulate what he did and stood for, what he fought for all these decades. He planted a seed in Africa which we must not let die.
Prof. Ruth K. Oniang’o, Kenya

I have known Dr. Borlaug for 30 years, first from an undergraduate course on plant breeding and years later I fortunately lived downstairs from him and listened to his talks about plant breeding. Dr. Borlaug’s influence on me will continue.
Yunbi Xu, molecular breeder

Dr. Borlaug inspired my formation in agricultural science. He was a very hard working and practical man. His humility allowed many of us to approach him at any time and ask him anything regarding agriculture. In Mexico and all over the world we, will miss him.
Óscar Bañuelos Tavarez, supervisor, Tlaltizapán Research Station

It was Dr. Borlaug who always encouraged me to interact directly with farmers. He said that they were important. I’ve done so for many years, and we have received many, many farmers at the station facilities!
Fernando Delgado, supervisor, Toluca Experimental Station

I wish to send my heartfelt condolences on the occasion of the demise of Dr. Norman E. Borlaug.
I. S. Singh

I hope that Norman Borlaug’s work will carry on as a permanent example and tribute to his lifetime of professional dedication. Rest in peace.
Fernando García, field worker at El Batán, 1972

I’m Dr. RG Anderson’s son (Glenn, to his friends). My father spent the greater part of his working life with Norm in India and later as Associate Director of the Wheat Program until his early death in the 80s.

Norm did great things for people, to be sure, but he did little things too, without asking for recognition. I was a problem kid in a big way, and sometime in the mid 1970s I was expelled from AHS for setting off smoke bombs. My father managed to get me a sort of make-work job for the remainder of the school year at the Sonora research station; a job mostly consisting of making Dr. Mohan Kohli’s life miserable. But there I was, in my first job, being paid a princely salary every two weeks. I stayed there until the beginning of the next school year, and often think back fondly.

It was only many years later that my father found out that it was Norm who paid my salary out of his own pocket. RIP. I’m Dr. RG Anderson’s son (Glenn, to his friends). My
father spent the greater part of his working life with Norm in India and later as Associate Director of the Wheat Program until his early death in the 80s.

Norm did great things for people, to be sure, but he did little things too, without asking for recognition. I was a problem kid in a big way, and sometime in the mid 1970s I was expelled from AHS for setting off smoke bombs. My father managed to get me a sort of make-work job for the remainder of the school year at the Sonora research station; a job mostly consisting of making Dr. Mohan Kohli’s life miserable. But there I was, in my first job, being paid a princely salary every two weeks. I stayed there until the beginning of the next school year, and often think back fondly.

It was only many years later that my father found out that it was Norm who paid my salary out of his own pocket. RIP. You were a good man.
Scott Anderson

The news was sad: Prof. Borlaug left this world a few days ago, after a long and fruitful life. Active until the end, Borlaug achieved what too few in history have: he saved the lives of hundreds of millions by making it possible for them to feed themselves, brought hope to small-holding farmers and their families throughout the world, and tirelessly campaigned for policies and technologies offering food security now and in the future. His Nobel Peace Prize is almost a footnote in a lifetime of achievement.

However, the most telling memory of Norman Borlaug is not of the man receiving the Nobel medal or of the lecturer in the CIMMYT conference hall. Instead, it is him sitting in the CIMMYT coffee-room with young scientists and visitors from all parts of the world, drinking a cup of coffee at 8 o’clock in the morning. Rather than sitting in regal isolation, he was chatting and smiling to a group of very young scientists and visitors and listening to them with interest. He was curious about every little advance and each little experiment, as if these minutiae of scientific life were of ground-breaking importance. To talk to him for a few minutes made you very grateful and satisfied. You felt part of something, you felt a scientist sharing your experience with somebody else able to understand your frustrations, your excitement, and you even felt useful to the humanity! His was a very enlightened mind, always ready to study and to understand something new about wheat, his favourite object of study.

Borlaug’s modesty and simplicity was also his greatness, the secret for his excellence. He was able to believe that through science “we can improve the world and the quality of life” yet to offer to millions of people the possibility to overcome and fight the famine and poverty, he also needed to be strong, tenacious, stubborn, persevering and, in the end, able to build a solid scientific organization working on wheat and to grow up a very large network of scientists over the world.

Even this spring, to the 7th International Triticale symposium in Ciudad Obregon, he had words rich of enthusiasm, despite his illness, pushing people to go on with determination, without suffering fatigue. It is said of one that saves a single life, it is as if he saved the entire world. What can be said, then of one who saved hundreds of millions of lives?

For all he gave us, and for all he gave the world, we wish to say: Thank you Prof. Borlaug! We cannot thank you enough!

Dr. Patrizia Galeffi (Italy)
Prof. Alan Schulman (Finland)
Dr. Catherine Feuillet (France)

and

COST FA0604 Tritigen Project (59 scientists of the management committee)
http://tritigen.ari.gov.cy/

Remembering Dr Norman Ernest Borlaug Acknowledgement from Sudan

On the day following Dr Borlaug’s death a friend of mine called me to convey the news of his sad death at his home in Texas .Our immediate reaction was that we owe it to this great man that his death would not pass without us remembering what Dr Borlaug had done for the young wheat improvement program in Sudan in the sixties .We soon called upon colleagues among the Sudanese Scientists to meet and discuss what our response would be .We unanimously agreed that the least we could do was to go to the local Sudanese press to tell the Sudanese common man what Borlaug had meant to the Sudan and this we did.

On a personal level the news carried me back some forty five years ago when the then FAO Cairo Resident (Dr Abdul Hafiz) approached the Director of the Sudan Agricultural Research Corporation nominating me to join a new CIMMYT Wheat Training Program sponsored in Mexico by the Rockefeller Foundation. I believe our group included fellows from Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Sudan.

Sometime on October 1964 on our arrival at Cuidad Obregon in the Yaqui Valley, we were met by the local staff. Next day we were to meet with the Director of the training program which happened to be Dr Norman Borlaug. We were expecting to meet a stereotype Director dressed in the normal neat fashion and we would spend our time receiving lectures in cozy halls. But this was not to be .We met Dr Borlaug in the field dressed  in his normal field dress and heavy  field shoes and wear kaki shorts and a Mexican sombrero .His first address carried a simple message; that our mission should be how we can manage to produce enough food for our people in our respective countries. This can only be achieved if we go to the field and live close to the plants. We have to have our hands soiled and we have to follow plants at various stages of development to recognize those that will meet our criteria and fulfill our goals. To do that, we had to go through all stages of the breeding  program starting with the backbreaking inoculation of plants with the prevalent diseases to identify the resistant ones ,performing selection of more promising type of plants that would yield well ,carrying out tests to confirm their ultimate merit before their release and multiplying their seeds for eventual adoption. That kind of work had continued for four months. It was tough , it was hard toil and although  most of our group were about  30 years old or below and Dr Borlaug was about 50 years we found great difficulty in coping with his pace at least in the first couple of months .Our program ended in the Yaqui Valley  after four months. Then we moved to Toluca in North Mexico where there was a repeat of the same program with the same vigor and intense efforts for another four months. To most of us this was a rare valuable learning experience which had its impact upon our programs for years to come.

For the Sudan the connection that had started in 1964 heralded a good relationship because my participation in that CIMMYT Training Program was ensued in later years by the selection of at least five candidates who formed a nucleus of research workers who managed to sustain a wheat program that was instrumental in releasing several high-yielding wheat varieties that were grown over extensive areas in Sudan.

 But that was not all. We were also fortunate that Dr Borlaug in spite of his very busy schedule had found the time to visit our wheat program in Sudan on at least three occasions the last of which had taken place in the year 1992. At the time he was serving as an adviser to the Sasakawa African Association and its partner the Carter Center and their arm Global 2000. Through his initiative Global 2000 was persuaded to come to work in the Sudan. They had worked with thousands of farmers in the Sudan for four years and the impact on wheat yields was unmistakable. Soon there were substantial increases in wheat yields in the farmers’ fields who were involved with Global 2000 demonstration program. Of course this had its impact on farmers’ fields at large.

On a personal level after my participation in the 1964 CIMMYT Training Program it was Dr Borlaug who recommended my name for a Rockefeller PhD scholarship in Genetics at the University of California at the UCD campus for which my country and myself were grateful. This scholarship had afforded me the opportunity to work with some of the finest Professors in the Campus namely Calvin. O. Qualset as Supervisor and others with whom I attended some important and very useful courses.

Finally on the passing away of Dr Norman Ernest Borlaug we would like to join the millions of people all over the world who mourned his death and to convey our heart-felt condolences to all members of his family.

For me and on behalf of all colleagues in Sudan who deeply felt the loss.

Mohamed Ahmed Khalifa

Formerly Postgraduate Rockefeller Scholar at UCD California

Formerly Wheat Breeder ARC, Sudan

Formerly FAO Field Crops Scientist

Formerly Vice Chancellor Omdurman Ahlia University

Presently Professor, Environmental Science College

Omdurman Ahlia University

PO Box 768

Omdurman, SUDAN

Mob Tel. 00249-912302165 

Speech by Hans-Joachim Braun, director of CIMMYT’s Global Wheat Program, on the passing of Norman Borlaug

Written by Corporate Communications on . Posted in From the management

(Given in El Batán, Mexico, on 15 September 2009.)

Today we come together to celebrate the 199th anniversary of Mexico’s independence but it is also the saddest moment in the history of CIMMYT, since we are mourning Dr. Borlaug. I am sure, if we could ask him, Dr. Borlaug would insist that we celebrate “El Grito” today. He knew the importance of this tradition, for he not only lived 62 years in Mexico, he loved Mexico, the Mexican people, and Ciudad Obregon, which he considered home.

Dr. Borlaug influenced the thinking of thousands of agricultural scientists. He was the most influential breeder ever and, equally important, his stature enabled him to influence politicians and leaders around the world. His legacy and his work ethic––to get things done and not mind getting your hands dirty––are the basis of Borlaug’s philosophy, which influenced us all and remains CIMMYT’s guiding principle today. He was a giant, a global leader in agriculture, a visionary and, at the same time, very down to earth. In Germany we have the word “Uebervater”––father above all fathers––which best describes what he meant to us and to millions of people.

Over the years, thousands of trainees sweated side by side with Dr. Borlaug in the field. Irrespective of their cultural background, they were infected with the Borlaug bacillus to work together to help others. This core of young scientists became his troops in fighting hunger. Many later became leaders in their own countries, where they implemented Norm’s life philosophy: Don’t be afraid, do your best, never give up, and you will succeed. Training young people was always at the center of his heart. The last time I saw him in Obregon in March, he specifically mentioned that CIMMYT should start in-service training again. Norm, we take this as an order.

Yes, he was a giant, but people at CIMMYT who worked with him will remember Norm as a caring and engaging person. When I was a young man working in Turkey, he called me into his office and asked me how zinc research was progressing. I had just started explaining when he had to leave unexpectedly. One year later, we met again, and he immediately said, “Well, Hans, last year you didn’t tell me the zinc story, so tell me now!” How could he have remembered after one year?

But my most memorable meeting with Norm was in 2005, at the 7th IWC, when I just had been appointed Wheat Program Director. After the conference dinner, at 11:30 pm, he asked me to come to his room, where we talked until 2:30 in the morning. He gave me a lot of advice, some very personal. But two things I can share. One: never, ever, hurt people’s dignity and pride, and never be arrogant. And the other: he said, “I’ll help you!” And help he did. Without his advice, I’m not sure what the Wheat Program would look like today, but for sure not as strong as it is now.

This is how Dr. Borlaug led his life. His generosity affected millions. We will greatly miss his intellectual inspiration, his leadership, and his support. The world has lost one of the greatest human beings ever, and all who knew him should be immensely grateful.

When he talked to Art Klatt and Bill Raun about nitrogen sensor technology, Dr. Borlaug’s parting words were: “Take it to the farmers.” I think these words best summarize what Dr. Borlaug stood for. Farmers––poor farmers and their families––were always in his thoughts. And I promise this was, is, and will remain CIMMYT’s ultimate goal. If we fail in this, we fail in everything we do, and we will not pay Norman Borlaug the tribute he deserves.

Media relations training for WEMA

Written by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Audio-Video Media & IT, Events

A workshop on media handling and science communication was held for spokespersons of the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project during 4-5 August 2009 at the Nairobi Safari Club. Organized by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agribiotech Applications (ISAAA), this workshop aimed to equip scientists and WEMA principal investigators with skills for effective communication with the media and for designing and packaging comprehensive communication briefs on the project. Among other things, participants were shown the journalistic “inverted pyramid” model for writing, whereby texts should lead off with the most important information and then move on to background or supporting information.

The event brought to light the challenges faced when communicating about topics like risk. Perceptions of risk differ across countries, as succinctly expressed by Professor Calestous Juma of Harvard University: “In the US, products are safe until proven risky. WEMA1In France, products are risky even when proven safe. In India products are safe even when proven risky. In Africa, products are risky even if they do not exist.” Participants were advised to be believable, convincing, clear, and concise, and to remain positive under questioning.

Communication theories and the principles of communication were introduced, and participants were encourage to follow the APP model (anticipate, prepare, practice) that involves preparing for interviews with the help of communication personnel to anticipate all manner of possible questions, and practicing before the interview. Avoiding jargon was also emphasized. “I gained new insight into media relations, which will help me communicate with better with the media,” said Stephen Mugo, CIMMYT senior scientist, at the end of the training.

A complementary follow-up event that focused on confidentiality in technology development was held 6–7 August. Organized by the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) with the WEMA management team, the event was attended by project country leaders and communications staff. Among the principles that emerged was an agreement that information should be shared on a “need-to-know” basis, and that project participants should be careful  about what information is marked as confidential. Resource persons were Francesca Re Manning, an advocate working with the Central Advisory Service for Intellectual Property (CASIP), Rome, together with Gabriela Wehrle of Monsanto, and Lucas Oluoch, legal officer at the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI). Attending from CIMMYT were Yoseph Beyene (associate scientist), Anne Wangalachi (communications officer), and Judie- Lynn Rabar (science writer/editor). Stephen Mugo (senior scientist) was among the organizers of the training as the WEMA-Kenya project leader. Logistics were jointly organized by AATF and CIMMYT, with Mildred Khalumba as CIMMYT’s representative.

Hybrid maize breeding course in Hyberabad

Written by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Capacity Building, Maize

Forty-five maize scientists gathered at CIMMYT’s office in Hyderabad, India, from 31 August until 5 September for a course on maize hybrid breeding for rainfed areas in Asia. Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA), and the Generation Challenge Program (GCP) organized the course, which received nearly 90 applications from interested scientists.

Various aspects related to hybrid maize breeding were covered by competent and qualified scientists from CIMMYT, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Indian maize programs, and the private sector. “This course was very successful,” said Harun-or Rahsid, a participant from Bangladesh. “We were introduced to several new ideas that we can use to develop stable maize hybrids in a more effective and resource-efficient manner.” The majority of participants came from India (23), but others came from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. The private sector was well represented; 12 participants came from the following companies: Monsanto, Syngenta, BIOSEED, Krishidhan Seeds, Ajeet Seeds, ABS Seeds, Safal Seeds, JK Seeds, VNR Seeds, and Vibha Agri-tech.

“I’m glad the CIMMYT-Asia program took the initiative to organized this much anticipated course,” said CIMMYT scientist S.K. Vasal. “It will strengthen partnerships and collaboration in the region and help us to achieve our goal of doubling maize production by the year 2020.”

Zaidigroup

ZM 309 gets presidential nod in Malawi

Written by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Maize

On 3 September 2009, a new drought tolerant maize variety received presidential approval in Malawi. The variety, ZM 309, known by locals as ‘msungabanja’ (that which takes care of the family), will be included in the national farm input subsidy program and is to be planted by farmers in Malawi’s most drought prone areas this October.

Malawi1Malawi’s President Bingu wa Mutharika hosted CIMMYT’s Wilfred Mwangi, project leader of Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA), and Peter Setimela, maize breeder, at the State House in Lilongwe. The two briefed him on CIMMYT’s maize research activities and collaboration in Malawi, which date back to 1974. “The new maize variety, ZM 309, released under the auspices of the DTMA Project, will give Malawi farmers an advantage because it is high yielding and drought tolerant,” said President Bingu wa Mutharika on receiving a 10-ton consignment of ZM 309 seed presented by Mwangi and Setimela on behalf of CIMMYT. “We welcome this research because it will help Malawi cope with climate change and improve food security.”

The variety will be grown in Balaka, Chikwawa, Nsanje, and Karonga, and the consignment is adequate to plant a minimum of 400 hectares. “We at CIMMYT commend Malawi’s leadership for implementing innovative agricultural policies that have made the country a great example for improving national food security in Africa,” said Mwangi. “We will work with the government of Malawi to help farmers cope with climate change by using drought tolerant maize technology.”

ZM 309 is a drought tolerant, open-pollinated maize variety, meaning farmers have the option to save seed for subsequent seasons with minimum yield loss. ZM 309 was developed through collaborative research efforts with CIMMYT, Malawi’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, and Chitedze Research Station. CIMMYT also included an information leaflet on ZM 309 in each 10-kilo bag of seed as part of efforts to provide information about new varieties to farmers. CIMMYT is most grateful to Andrew Daudi, Malawi’s principal secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, and to Jeff Luhanga, controller of Agricultural Extension and Technical Services from the same department, for their support and facilitation assistance. Collaboration with SeedCo Malawi in producing the required seed is also acknowledged, and particular gratitude is due to SeedCo employees Dellings Phiri, general manager, and John Lungu, operations executive. Also participating in the event was Anne Wangalachi, CIMMYT science writer/editor.

Farewell to Norman Borlaug: World loses its leading hunger fighter

Written by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Announcements, Wheat

CIMMYT joins with members of the international development community to mourn the passing of Nobel Peace Laureate and renowned wheat scientist, Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, who died Saturday night at the age of 95 from complications from cancer, after an exemplary life dedicated to fighting hunger in developing countries.

Dr. Borlaug worked as a CIMMYT wheat breeder and research director for nearly four decades and was a CIMMYT scientist at the time he received the Nobel Peace Prize.

High-yielding wheat varieties and improved farming practices, first developed by Borlaug and his team in Mexico during the 1950s, were introduced into South Asia in the 1960s and may well be responsible for saving hundreds of millions of people from starvation. Known as the Green Revolution, Borlaug’s work gave rise to science-based agriculture in developing countries. Today, high-yielding, disease-resistant wheat varieties based on Dr. Borlaug’s pioneering work are grown on 80 million hectares (200 million acres) throughout the world.

Borlaug received the 1970 Nobel Prize for those achievements, and his success led to the establishment of a network of 15 international agricultural research centers, including CIMMYT.

Borlaug’s full-time employment at CIMMYT ended in 1979, although he remained a resident part-time consultant until his death. In 1984, he began a new career as a university professor, teaching one semester a year at Texas A&M University, which continued for 23 years. In 1986, he joined forces with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and the Nippon Foundation of Japan, under the chairmanship of Ryoichi Sasakawa, to develop an African agricultural initiative. Over a 20-year period, the Sasakawa-Global 2000 agricultural program, as it is known, has been working in 15 African countries to transfer improved agricultural technology to several million small-scale farmers.

Borlaug was especially proud of his role in establishing the World Food Prize in 1986. This prize has grown in stature and is now considered the “Nobel Prize” for food and agriculture. Some 25 men and women have been recognized for their outstanding contributions to increasing the quantity, quality and availability of world food supplies. Based in Des Moines, Iowa, the World Food Prize Foundation has also developed outstanding educational programs to engage young people in world food issues.

Dr. Borlaug always considered himself to be a teacher, as well as a scientist. Today, several thousand men and women agricultural scientists from more than 50 countries are proud to say they were Norman Borlaug’s “students.”

Borlaug used his fame and influence to champion the cause of smallholder agricultural development around the globe. Over a 63-year career, he traveled tirelessly to more than 100 nations, visiting farmers and agricultural scientists in their fields. It is estimated that over his lifetime he personally spoke to more than 500,000 students and ordinary citizens, explaining the challenges and complexities of world food production.

Borlaug was voted a member of the academies of agricultural science of 11 nations, received 60 honorary doctorate degrees from those countries, and was honored by farmer and civic associations in 28 countries.

Of all the places that he visited, his beloved home was Mexico, and in particular, the irrigated Yaqui Valley in the state of Sonora, in northwest Mexico. “This is where I truly feel at home, and where I am at peace,” he would often say. The feeling was reciprocal. In Ciudad Obregón, in the heart of the Yaqui Valley, one of main streets is named after Borlaug, and hundreds have known him since they were born.

Although probably better known outside the United States—in Mexico, India, Pakistan, China and Latin America, Borlaug’s work has also been widely recognized in the USA. At the federal level, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the National Medal of Science and the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s highest civilian award.

CIMMYT was also home to Dr. Borlaug, who was known as a simple and charismatic figure, who spoke Spanish fluently and truly cared about people, greeting and chatting with researchers and field workers alike. His dedicated pragmatism and vision of applying science to benefit the poor live on as core values of CIMMYT and several other institutions with which he was closely associated.

Norm, as he liked be called, lived his life as a dedicated hunger-fighter, but one who was forever vigilant. As he said in his acceptance speech of the 1970 Nobel Prize: “…It is true that the tide of the battle against hunger has changed for the better…but ebb tide could soon set in, if we become complacent…”

We can think of no greater tribute to Norm than to carry on the work to which he dedicated his life: applying agricultural science for humanitarian benefits. Thus, he lives on in our hearts and, through our efforts, the work he began will also live on.

“Today we stand bereft of Borlaug’s physical presence, but not of his spirit or ideals,” says Thomas A. Lumpkin, CIMMYT Director General. “Norm once said: ‘I personally cannot live comfortably in the midst of abject hunger and poverty and human misery.’ Millions of small-scale farmers in developing countries today still practice low-input, subsistence agriculture, condemning them and their families to lives of poverty. They typically spend at least 70% of their income on food, and most are at risk of being malnourished. The world cannot be at peace until these people are helped to feed themselves and escape poverty.”

The CIMMYT family extends its condolences to the Borlaug family, who live in Texas, California and Iowa. He is survived by his son Bill, his daughter Norma Jean, five grandchildren, and several great grandchildren.

News from Human Resources

Written by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Announcements

Biosciences eastern and central Africa (BecA) Hub, hosted and managed by the International Livestock Research Institute, is offering a technical/research paper writing workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 15–21 November 2009. Attendees will use their own advancedstage draft manuscripts in the training, with a goal of publication within two months of workshop completion. The application deadline is 17 September and applicants must be fluent in English, possess a Ph.D. or M.Sc. in a bioscience related area, and be currently employed by an African national research program or university. The Gender & Diversity Program of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) encourages African women scientists and professionals to apply. For more information please contact Ms. Rachel Njunge, r.njunge@cgiar.org or visit http://hub.africabiosciences.org/.

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