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Role of Norman E. Borlaug in Pakistan

Borlaug led the introduction of high-yielding wheat varieties combined with modern agricultural production techniques to Mexico, Pakistan, and India. In Pakistan, wheat yields increased from 4.6 million tons in 1965 to 7.3 million tons in 1970; Pakistan was self-sufficient in wheat production by 1968. Yields were over 21 million tons by 2000. Since the 1960s, food production in Pakistan has increased at incredibly faster rates than the rate of population growth and the production of wheat reach to 25 million tons mark.

The first contact that Pakistani scientists had with Borlaug was in 1960, when he toured the country as a member of a FAO Rockefeller Foundation team studying wheat production problems in North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. A major recommendation of this expert team was for the practical training of 
regional wheat scientists in wheat improvement. FAO agreed to locate candidates for training,  Borlaug offered to provide training in Mexico, and the Rockefeller Foundation agreed to put up the funds for this activity. The first group of promising young researchers arrived for training in 1961. There was one Pakistani in the first group, Manzoor A. Bajwa, next year another, Muhammed Nur, and in 1963, two more. These young Pakistani researchers spent nine months in Mexico working alongside Borlaug and the Mexican-Rockefeller research team. The trainees were exposed to new and practical methods for improving wheat production, and all went home carrying packets of seed and the knowledge on how to use it to best advantage.
The Minister of Agriculture for West Pakistan, Mr. Malik Khuda Baksh Bucha played a pivotal political role, putting his prestige and career on the line to push ahead rapidly with the introduction of the new production package. It was Minister Khuda Baksh Bucha, with the able assistance of the late Amir Mohammed Khan (then Secretary of Agriculture), who set up the Accelerated Wheat Improvement 
Program, committed scarce foreign exchange to import wheat seed and fertilizer during the initial years, and convinced his government that  agriculture must have a much higher priority in the nation's overall economic development plans.
The wheat revolution's field commanders were S.A. Qureshi from the Punjab, M. A. Munshi from the Sind, M. Suleman Khan from the Northwest Frontier; and Ignacio Narvaez from Mexico. Together, these four individuals coordinated a massive farm demonstration campaign to introduce the high-yielding varieties and improved agronomic practices to Pakistani farmers in the shortest time possible. 
Finally, behind the scene were the financial support of the Ford Foundation, the steady guiding hand of Haldore Hanson, the Foundation's country representative, and the wise counsel of OddvarArsvik, an agricultural economist, and Robert Havener, the agricultural program officer.
Two-long time colleagues, Drs. Norman Borlaug and Muhammed Bajwa. In 1963, Dr. Bajwa was the first Pakistani to train with Borlaug in Mexico. It was Bajwa who, as a young trainee, selected the advanced line 8156 for Pakistan. This high yielding, white grain line was named Mexipak, which sparked the Green Revolution in wheat in Pakistan. Dr. Bajwa lately become the Director General of AARI, Faisalabad. 

 

President Ayub Khan took an active interest in the Accelerated Wheat Improvement Program of West Pakistan. Pictured here is M.A. Bajwa, a young wheat scientist then and former Director General of the Ayub Agricultural Research Institute Faisalabad showing President Ayub Khan the advantages of the new semi dwarf wheat varieties.
 
 
 

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