Norman Borlaug passed away some 10 days back. Ever since he passed away, a number of newspapers globally have published obituries and explained his contribution to agriculture. I too was flooded with requests to write about him or to talk about his role in Indian agriculture. Although I happen to be on the 'other side' (as some would say) as far as farming and agriculture is concerned, I still thought it would be helpful if I could share with readers my reminiscences with him. It will atleast help to put a lot many things in right perspective.
After getting Nobel Peace Prize, Borlaug stature had grown and he used it deftly to influence governments. I sometimes wonder what a great difference he would have made to the future of world agriculture if he would have been receptive to ideas of long-term sustainability, and actually seen the difference that sustainable farming practices made to Earth's climate. Much of the problem of climate change can be easily ascribed to the chemical farming practices that were pushed all over. Agricultural scientists should be held accountable for adding on significantly to greenhouse emissions. In fact, they haven't learnt any lesson from the debacle of Green Revolution. In addition to the 'chemical treadmill', they are now promoting 'biological treadmill' with impunity, again in the garb of producing more food for humanity.
Whether farm scientists accept it or not, the fact remains that farmer suicides and the terrible agrarian crisis that prevails in India is the result of the failure of Green Revolution.
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