This post was originally published by the World Food Prize Foundation. The 2014 Borlaug Dialogue international symposium is being held from October 15-17 in Des Moines, Iowa to address the question: “Can we sustainably feed the 9 billion people on our planet by the year 2050?”
Norman Borlaug Centennial Q&A's with Experts
In order to shine a spotlight on the amazing agricultural work being done today, and in honor of the Borlaug Centennial year, The World Food Prize invited 2014 Borlaug Dialogue speakers and experts from around the globe to respond to questions regarding their work, their goals and their inspiration.
Wheat Breeder and 2014 World Food Prize Laureate
Resource Seeds International, Mexico and India
If Norman Borlaug posed the following questions to you- what would you tell him?
Q: What’s the one thing – the single most important – that we need to address to solve food insecurity?
A: Perhaps there is enough food produced in the world. The most pressing problems I see are the lack of income and consequently buying power. Unemployment or under-employment is very high in low income sectors of society, especially in developing countries such as India. Some kind of training for work would solve this problem.
Q: Do you think we can feed 9 billion people by the year 2050? If so, why? If not, why not?
A: My response is that we can. Some technological and policy interventions are needed.
These are applications of biotechnological tools, such as GM technology, to offset the effects of climate change, balancing the soil health through ameliorating micronutrients, optimizing the water use efficiency and embracing hybrid technology on a large scale, global scenario, especially on small farms.
Q: What’s one piece of advice you would give to young people?
A: Try to broaden the horizon of knowledge through a multidisciplinary approach. Do not see science through the eye of a needle; try to see the forest and not one tree. Do not get discouraged if failures come. Do not give up.
Q: What’s one thing the general population could do to make an impact on global food security?
A: In developing countries, need to bring the population down. There is no short cut to it for food security. Through technological interventions we only buy time.
Q: Share with us one of your most unique life experiences and what it taught you.
A: Humility does not mean weakness, rather respect for others. My life mission remains service to others in the broader aspect. I really do not accept failures as defeat.