New Center to Battle Future Food Crises

NEW DELHI—Hoping to kick-start another green revolution, the Indian government on 5 October announced the creation of a research center to develop wheat and maize varieties that thrive in warmer temperatures and on degraded land. Launched in partnership with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) in Mexico, the Borlaug Institute for South Asia will employ 300 researchers across three sites in India.

The center's establishment is a "momentous event in the history of global food security," claims CIMMYT Director General Thomas A. Lumpkin. South Asia's population is expected to swell from 1.6 billion today to 2.4 billion by 2050. By that time, CIMMYT predicts, almost a quarter of South Asia's wheat yield could be wiped out by global warming. "We are faced with alarming statistics," says Lumpkin, who hopes the new center will "usher in a second green revolution."

The center honors the 1970 Peace Nobel Laureate Norman Borlaug, a renowned wheat breeder who helped lead the first green revolution in the 1960s and avert widespread famine in India. The $125 million center will take root near agricultural universities in the states of Punjab, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh and is expected to open in 2 years.