Keynote address from BGRI 2013 - Mark Lynas, Using the tools of biotechnology to advance Borlaug's legacy

John Bakum
Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Keynote speech by Mark Lynas to the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative 2013 Technical Workshop, Hotel Taj Palace, New Delhi

20 August 2013, 8.30am

[as prepared - please check against delivery]

Ladies, gentlemen, distinguished delegates, honoured guests,

I particularly want to acknowledge Jeanie Borlaug, chair of BGRI and a champion of continuing her father’s legacy in food security… and her daughter and Dr Borlaug’s grand-daughter Julie Borlaug, who is not with us today but has been both an insipiration and a practical support to me in preparing these remarks.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Three weeks ago I was travelling in central Kenya, meeting smallholder farmers who were growing improved bananas using the tools of modern biotechnology. Their banana plantations were healthy because they had been able to obtain clean tissue culture plantlets from the agricultural research institute rather than transplanting disease-carrying suckers.

One of these farmers, who had just over an acre of land, and children to feed, told me, much to my surprise, that he had once met Dr Norman Borlaug. He had been on a Kenyan delegation to the World Food Prize some years ago, it turned out. His description of the event has stayed in my head ever since. Meeting Borlaug was “like meeting the President of the World”, he told me with a grin.

Well, Borlaug wasn’t president of the world of course. To my knowledge he wasn’t president of anything. And yet he achieved more in his lifetime to change the world for the better than any official world leader I can think of for at least the last half-century.

That is why the Kenyan smallholder farmer I met remembered meeting Borlaug as one of the greatest moments of his life. Because he had shaken hands with one of the greatest men who has ever lived.

And we heard similar very moving testimonials last night from farmers here in India for whom Norman Borlaug touched their lives and changed them for the better.

- See more at: http://www.marklynas.org/2013/08/using-the-tools-of-biotechnology-to-adv...

Keynote speech by Mark Lynas to the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative 2013 Technical Workshop, Hotel Taj Palace, New Delhi

20 August 2013, 8.30am

[as prepared - please check against delivery]

Ladies, gentlemen, distinguished delegates, honoured guests,

I particularly want to acknowledge Jeanie Borlaug, chair of BGRI and a champion of continuing her father’s legacy in food security… and her daughter and Dr Borlaug’s grand-daughter Julie Borlaug, who is not with us today but has been both an insipiration and a practical support to me in preparing these remarks.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Three weeks ago I was travelling in central Kenya, meeting smallholder farmers who were growing improved bananas using the tools of modern biotechnology. Their banana plantations were healthy because they had been able to obtain clean tissue culture plantlets from the agricultural research institute rather than transplanting disease-carrying suckers.

One of these farmers, who had just over an acre of land, and children to feed, told me, much to my surprise, that he had once met Dr Norman Borlaug. He had been on a Kenyan delegation to the World Food Prize some years ago, it turned out. His description of the event has stayed in my head ever since. Meeting Borlaug was “like meeting the President of the World”, he told me with a grin.

Well, Borlaug wasn’t president of the world of course. To my knowledge he wasn’t president of anything. And yet he achieved more in his lifetime to change the world for the better than any official world leader I can think of for at least the last half-century.

That is why the Kenyan smallholder farmer I met remembered meeting Borlaug as one of the greatest moments of his life. Because he had shaken hands with one of the greatest men who has ever lived.

And we heard similar very moving testimonials last night from farmers here in India for whom Norman Borlaug touched their lives and changed them for the better.

- See more at: http://www.marklynas.org/2013/08/using-the-tools-of-biotechnology-to-adv...

Keynote speech by Mark Lynas to the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative 2013 Technical Workshop, Hotel Taj Palace, New Delhi

20 August 2013, 8.30am

[as prepared - please check against delivery]

Ladies, gentlemen, distinguished delegates, honoured guests,

I particularly want to acknowledge Jeanie Borlaug, chair of BGRI and a champion of continuing her father’s legacy in food security… and her daughter and Dr Borlaug’s grand-daughter Julie Borlaug, who is not with us today but has been both an insipiration and a practical support to me in preparing these remarks.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Three weeks ago I was travelling in central Kenya, meeting smallholder farmers who were growing improved bananas using the tools of modern biotechnology. Their banana plantations were healthy because they had been able to obtain clean tissue culture plantlets from the agricultural research institute rather than transplanting disease-carrying suckers.

One of these farmers, who had just over an acre of land, and children to feed, told me, much to my surprise, that he had once met Dr Norman Borlaug. He had been on a Kenyan delegation to the World Food Prize some years ago, it turned out. His description of the event has stayed in my head ever since. Meeting Borlaug was “like meeting the President of the World”, he told me with a grin.

Well, Borlaug wasn’t president of the world of course. To my knowledge he wasn’t president of anything. And yet he achieved more in his lifetime to change the world for the better than any official world leader I can think of for at least the last half-century.

That is why the Kenyan smallholder farmer I met remembered meeting Borlaug as one of the greatest moments of his life. Because he had shaken hands with one of the greatest men who has ever lived.

And we heard similar very moving testimonials last night from farmers here in India for whom Norman Borlaug touched their lives and changed them for the better.

- See more at: http://www.marklynas.org/2013/08/using-the-tools-of-biotechnology-to-adv...

Keynote speech by Mark Lynas to the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative 2013 Technical Workshop, Hotel Taj Palace, New Delhi

20 August 2013, 8.30am

[as prepared - please check against delivery]

Ladies, gentlemen, distinguished delegates, honoured guests,

I particularly want to acknowledge Jeanie Borlaug, chair of BGRI and a champion of continuing her father’s legacy in food security… and her daughter and Dr Borlaug’s grand-daughter Julie Borlaug, who is not with us today but has been both an insipiration and a practical support to me in preparing these remarks.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Three weeks ago I was travelling in central Kenya, meeting smallholder farmers who were growing improved bananas using the tools of modern biotechnology. Their banana plantations were healthy because they had been able to obtain clean tissue culture plantlets from the agricultural research institute rather than transplanting disease-carrying suckers.

One of these farmers, who had just over an acre of land, and children to feed, told me, much to my surprise, that he had once met Dr Norman Borlaug. He had been on a Kenyan delegation to the World Food Prize some years ago, it turned out. His description of the event has stayed in my head ever since. Meeting Borlaug was “like meeting the President of the World”, he told me with a grin.

Well, Borlaug wasn’t president of the world of course. To my knowledge he wasn’t president of anything. And yet he achieved more in his lifetime to change the world for the better than any official world leader I can think of for at least the last half-century.

That is why the Kenyan smallholder farmer I met remembered meeting Borlaug as one of the greatest moments of his life. Because he had shaken hands with one of the greatest men who has ever lived.

And we heard similar very moving testimonials last night from farmers here in India for whom Norman Borlaug touched their lives and changed them for the better.

- See more at: http://www.marklynas.org/2013/08/using-the-tools-of-biotechnology-to-adv...

NEW DELHI, INDIA - Keynote speech by Mark Lynas to the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative 2013 Technical Workshop

Ladies, gentlemen, distinguished delegates, honoured guests,

I particularly want to acknowledge Jeanie Borlaug, chair of BGRI and a champion of continuing her father’s legacy in food security… and her daughter and Dr Borlaug’s grand-daughter Julie Borlaug, who is not with us today but has been both an insipiration and a practical support to me in preparing these remarks.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Three weeks ago I was travelling in central Kenya, meeting smallholder farmers who were growing improved bananas using the tools of modern biotechnology. Their banana plantations were healthy because they had been able to obtain clean tissue culture plantlets from the agricultural research institute rather than transplanting disease-carrying suckers.

One of these farmers, who had just over an acre of land, and children to feed, told me, much to my surprise, that he had once met Dr Norman Borlaug. He had been on a Kenyan delegation to the World Food Prize some years ago, it turned out. His description of the event has stayed in my head ever since. Meeting Borlaug was “like meeting the President of the World”, he told me with a grin.

Well, Borlaug wasn’t president of the world of course. To my knowledge he wasn’t president of anything. And yet he achieved more in his lifetime to change the world for the better than any official world leader I can think of for at least the last half-century.

That is why the Kenyan smallholder farmer I met remembered meeting Borlaug as one of the greatest moments of his life. Because he had shaken hands with one of the greatest men who has ever lived.

And we heard similar very moving testimonials last night from farmers here in India for whom Norman Borlaug touched their lives and changed them for the better...

See full speech at: www.marklynas.org