U.S. and Pakistan Celebrate Dr. Norman E. Borlaug and 50 years of Agriculture Partnership

Islamabad | April 23, 2014

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the International Center for Maize and Wheat Improvement (CIMMYT), Pakistani research partners, and the daughter of Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, Jeannie Borlaug Laube, celebrated Dr. Norman E. Borlaug’s 100th birthday and 50 years of U.S.-Pakistan partnership in agriculture today. Dr. Borlaug, known as the father of the “Green Revolution,” is credited with feeding billions of people thanks to his efforts to revolutionize agriculture around the world. An event held today at the Marriott Hotel to celebrate Dr. Borlaug’s contribution to Pakistan was part of a weeklong celebration highlighting Dr. Borlaug’s work and the U.S.-Pakistan agricultural partnership.

Dr. Borlaug, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his work in agriculture, first came to Pakistan in 1963 and visited the country many times over the next five decades. His work with Dr. Muhammad Manzur Bajwa and other Pakistani scientists to breed high productivity wheat varieties increased wheat yields by 25 percent between 1961 and 1969. Dr. Borlaug, along with USDA, CIMMYT, Pakistani partners, and scientists around the world brought the “Green Revolution” to Pakistan. The Green Revolution radically increased agricultural yields by introducing farmers around the world to new crop varieties, innovative ways of planting, efficient use of fertilizers, and new technologies for irrigation.

During today’s event, the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Richard Olson, thanked President Mamnoon Hussain for his participation and encouraged attendees to seek opportunities to continue Dr. Borlaug’s legacy and to secure future food supplies. In his remarks, he also emphasized the importance of government and business working together, saying “A strong public-private dialogue and partnership in this sector can ensure that farmers have the highest quality seeds, supplies, and infrastructure; and that consumers have world class products at fair prices.”

Dr. Borlaug’s work in the 1960s set the stage for 50 more years of agricultural collaboration between the United States and Pakistan. Today, the United States actively supports agricultural development in Pakistan through USDA and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) projects. This support helps increase farmer incomes and improves livelihoods by fighting wheat and cotton diseases, efficiently utilizing and conserving water on farms, enhancing dairy production through better management and control of Foot and Mouth Disease, and fighting sheep and goat diseases.

The United States continues to partner with Pakistani counterparts to address food security issues in Pakistan, combat plant and animal diseases, and to educate scientists and professionals to ensure continued advancement in the agricultural sector.