Page last updated at 06:37 GMT, Sunday, 13 September 2009 07:37 UK

Agriculture pioneer Borlaug dies

Norman Borlaug in Texas in 1996
Borlaug won the Nobel Peace Prize and US Congressional Gold Medal

Norman Borlaug, the man known as the father of the Green Revolution in agriculture, has died in the US state of Texas aged 95.

Prof Borlaug won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for agricultural innovation and the development of high-yield crops.

The Green Revolution helped world food production more than double between 1960 and 1990 with Asia, Africa and Latin America in particular benefiting.

The Nobel Institute said he had helped save hundreds of millions of lives.

Prof Borlaug died late on Saturday evening at his home in Dallas from complications with cancer, said a spokesperson for Texas A&M University, where he had worked.

'A better place'

In the early 1960s Prof Borlaug realised that creating short-stemmed varieties would leave food plants more energy for growing larger heads of grain.

His high-yield, disease-resistant dwarf wheat quickly boosted harvests in Latin America, and his techniques were particularly successful in South Asia, where famine was widespread.

Analysts believe the Green Revolution helped avert a worldwide famine in the late 20th century.

A close friend of Prof Borlaug at Texas A&M, Dr Ed Runge, told Associated Press news agency: "He has probably done more and is known by fewer people than anybody that has done that much... He made the world a better place."

The Nobel prize presentation said Prof Borlaug "more than any other single person of his age... has helped to provide bread for a hungry world".

Prof Borlaug continued his work into his 90s.

At a conference in the Philippines in 2006 he said: "We still have a large number of miserable, hungry people and this contributes to world instability.

"Human misery is explosive, and you better not forget that."

Norman Borlaug was born in Iowa in 1914.

He studied at the University of Minnesota and later worked for DuPont and the Rockefeller Foundation.

He set up his wheat and maize centre in 1963 to train scientists.

Prof Borlaug was awarded the highest US civilian award, the Congressional Gold Medal, in 2007.

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