Bush wrong to blame India for food crisis: Borlaug

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New Delhi, May 9 (UNI) Renowned agriculture scientist Norman S Borlaug, who helped midwife India's Green Revolution, has refuted US President George W Bush's claim that India and China were to blame for the shortage of foodstocks and galloping food prices.

In his latest interview to Outlook, the Nobel Peace Prize winner rather held those countries, such as the US, responsible for food crisis which chalked out a policy programme for diversion of foodgrains to produce biofuels. And, to some extent environmentalists also contributed to the crisis for their paranoia for using biotechnology in the sector.

Dr Borlaug was in total disagreement with President Bush's observation that increased demand of rich middle class in India and China had led to the shortage of foodgrains supplies.

On the other hand, the eminent scientist, who developed dwarf wheat varieties, justified India's decision to ban export of wheat and non-basmati rice to check domestic inflation.

''They (India and China) are doing what any reasonable government would do,'' he said.

He linked the current food crisis and the rising prices to the increased focus on biofuels.

''What is happening is that the low prices of foodgrains, especially of rice, wheat and corn, has given opportunities to those countries to produce energy from them. It's not easy to control this change in demand,'' Dr Borlaug said, adding ''We are mixing together two things that should not be together.'' The scientist predicted that food prices would remain high in the future and pointed out that India must harness biotechnology to cope with the growing population.

''If we had not used the so-called Green Revolution technology of 1960s, we would have been unable to make India, China and Pakistan food adequate nations. Had this not happened - the Green Revolution - what kind of mess the world would have been now? '' he asked.

UNI JSS KD KN1933

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