Borlaug: Innovation is Critical to Scale up Food Production

Norman E. Borlaug Statue

Borlaug: Innovation is Critical to Scale up Food Production

December 7, 2016

If  You're  Anti-Innovation, Bring a Solution!

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

The use of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, is an important topic to many consumers. We recently talked with Julie Borlaug, granddaughter of Norman Borlaug who earned a Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his contributions to world food production and supply, to shine some light on volume of contradictory information available.

Julie Borlaug said, “I think our industry has not done a good job communicating and being transparent. The first [GMO] products we brought were not really for the consumer; they were more for the farmer. We also had scientists doing the speaking, and that is just not great. I mean, to moms, female voices are really more important."

Julie Borlaug

Julie Borlaug

Borlaug noted the preponderance of public misinformation can be a serious problem. “I saw something a few years ago by the Food Babe where she was telling people not to buy frozen vegetables because they were not healthy. That is totally incorrect. You are telling someone who is low income and who wants to provide vegetables and nutritious food for their child, that the option for frozen food is off the table and they can buy only fresh organic. They don't have the capacity to do that. That is just false. That is fear, and I have a really big issue with that,” noted Borlaug.

California Wheat, Borlaug

California Wheat

In addition, many non-government organizations (NGOs) condemn the use of GMOs. Nevertheless, the use of genetically modified wheat varieties has helped to transform agricultural production in Mexico, Asia, and Latin America, thanks to Norman Borlaug.

Like her grandfather, who established the World Food Prize thirty years ago, Julie Borlaug supports proactive action, rather than spreading misleading information. “You cannot be anti-hunger and anti-innovation. If you are against innovation, bring a solution to the table,” Borlaug said.

“Quit spending millions and millions of dollars on PR campaigns that sell fear and hate, and create chaos. Come with a solution of your own, because we're open to any system as long as we can feed people and the food is healthy, sustainable and nutritious,” she said.

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