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  Part I Writing (30 minutes)

  Directions: For this part, you are allowed 30 minutes to write an essay commenting on the remark "A smile is the shortest distance between two people." You can cite examples to illustrate your point. You should write at least 150 words but no more than 200 words.

  Part II Reading Comprehension (Skimming and Scanning) (15 minutes)

  Directions: In this part, you will have 15 minutes to go over the passage quickly and answer the questions on Answer Sheet 1. For questions 1-7, choose the best answer from the four choices marked A) , B) , C) and D) . For questions 8-10, complete the sentences with the information given in the passage.

  Norman Borlaug: 'Father of the Green Revolution'

  Few people have quietly changed the world for the better more than this rural lad from the midwestern state of Iowa in the United States. The man in focus is Norman Borlaug, the Father of the 'Green Revolution', who died on September 12, 2009 at age 95. Norman Borlaug spent most of his 60 working years in the farmlands of Mexico, South Asia and later in Africa, fighting world hunger, and saving by some estimates up to a billion lives in the process. An achievement, fit for a Nobel Peace Prize.

  Early Years

  "I'm a product of the great depression" is how Borlaug described himself. A great-grandson of Norwegian immigrants to the United States, Borlaug was born in 1914 and grew up on a small farm in the northeastern corner of Iowa in a town called Cresco. His family had a 40-hectare (公顷) farm on which they grew wheat, maize (玉米) and hay and raised pigs and cattle. Norman spent most of his time from age 7-17 on the farm, even as he attended a one-room, one-teacher school at New Oregon in Howard County.

  Borlaug didn't have money to go to college. But through a Great Depression era programme, known as the National Youth Administration, Borlaug was able to enroll in the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis to study forestry. He excelled in studies and received his Ph.D. in plant pathology (病理学) and genetics in 1942. From 1942 to 1944, Borlaug was employed as a microbiologist at DuPont in Wilmington. However, following the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, Borlaug tried to join the military, but was rejected under wartime labour regulations.

  In Mexico

  In 1944, many experts warned of mass starvation in developing nations where populations were expanding faster than crop production. Borlaug began work at a Rockefeller Foundation-funded project in Mexico to increase wheat production by developing higher-yielding varieties of the crop. It involved research in genetics, plant breeding, plant pathology, entomology (昆虫学) , agronomy (农艺学) , soil science, and cereal technology. The goal of the project was to boost wheat production in Mexico, which at the time was importing a large portion of its grain.

  Borlaug said that his first couple of years in Mexico were difficult. He lacked trained scientists and equipment. Native farmers were hostile towards the wheat programme because of serious crop losses from 1939 to 1941 due to stem rust.

  Wheat varieties that Borlaug worked with had tall, thin stalks. While taller wheat competed better for sunlight, they had a tendency to collapse under the weight of extra grain - a trait called lodging. To overcome this, Borlaug worked on breeding wheat with shorter and stronger stalks, which could hold on larger seed heads. Borlaug's new semi-dwarf, disease-resistant varieties, called Pitic 62 and Penjamo 62, changed the potential yield of Mexican wheat dramatically. By 1963 wheat production in Mexico stood six times more than that of 1944.

  Green Revolution in India

  During the 1960s, South Asia experienced severe drought condition and India had been importing wheat on a large scale from the United States. Borlaug came to India in 1963 along with Dr. Robert Anderson to duplicate his Mexican success in the sub-continent. The experiments began with planting a few of the high-yielding variety strains in the fields of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute at Pusa in New Delhi, under the supervision of Dr. M. S. Swaminathan. These strains were subsequently planted in test plots at Ludhiana, Pantnagar, Kanpur, Pune and Indore. The results were promising, but large-scale success, however, was not instant. Cultural opposition to new agricultural techniques initially prevented Borlaug from going ahead with planting of new wheat strains in India. By 1965, when the drought situation turned alarming, the Government took the lead and allowed wheat revolution to move forward. By employing agricultural techniques he developed in Mexico, Borlaug was able to nearly double South Asian wheat harvests between 1965 and 1970.

  India subsequently made a huge commitment to Mexican wheat, importing some 18000 tonnes of seed. By 1968, it was clear that the Indian wheat harvest was nothing short of revolutionary. It was so productive that there was a shortage of labour to harvest it, of bull carts to haul it to the threshing floor (打谷场) , of jute (麻黄) bags to store it. Local governments in some areas were forced to shut down schools temporarily to use them as store houses.

  United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) observed that in 40 years between 1961 and 2001, "India more than doubled its population, from 452 million to more than 1 billion. At the same time, it nearly tripled its grain production from 87 million tonnes to 231 million tonnes. It accomplished this feat while increasing cultivated grain acreage (土地面积) a mere 8 percent."

  It was in India that Norman Borlaug's work was described as the 'Green Revolution.'

  In Africa

  Africa suffered widespread hunger and starvation through the 70s and 80s. Food and aid poured in from most developed countries into the continent, but thanks to the absence of efficient distribution system, the hungry remained empty-stomach. The then Chairman of the Nippon Foundation, Ryoichi Sasakawa wondered why the methods used in Mexico and India were not extended to Africa. He called up Norman Borlaug. now leading a semi-retired life, for help. He managed to convince Borlaug to help with his new effort and subsequently founded the Sasakawa Africa Association. Borlaug later recalled, "but after I saw the terrible circumstances there, I said, 'Let's just start growing'".

  The success in Africa was not as spectacular as it was in India or Mexico. Those elements that allowed Borlaug's projects to succeed, such as well-organized economies and transportation and irrigation systems, were severely lacking throughout Africa. Because of this, Borlaug's initial projects were restricted to developed regions of the continent. Nevertheless, yields of maize, sorghum (高粱) and wheat doubled between 1983 and 1985.

  Nobel Prize

  For his contributions to the world food supply, Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970. Norwegian officials notified his wife in Mexico City at 4:00 a. m., but Borlaug had already left for the test fields in the Toluca valley, about 65 km west of Mexico City. A chauffeur (司机) took her to the fields to inform her husband. In his acceptance speech, Borlaug said, "the first essential component of social justice is adequate food for all mankind. Food is the moral right of all who are born into this world. Yet, 50 percent of the world population goes hungry."

  Green Revolution vs Environmentalists

  Borlaug's advocacy of intensive high-yield agriculture came under severe criticism from environmentalists in recent years. His work faced environmental and socio-economic criticisms, including charges that his methods have created dependence on monoculture crops, unsustainable farming practices, heavy indebtedness among subsistence farmers, and high levels of cancer among those who work with agriculture chemicals. There are also concerns about the long-term sustainability of fanning practices encouraged by the Green Revolution in both the developed and the developing world.

  In India, the Green Revolution is blamed for the destruction of Indian crop diversity, drought vulnerability, dependence on agro-chemicals that poison soils but reap large-scale benefits mostly to the American multi-national corporations. What these critics overwhelmingly advocate is a global movement towards "organic" or "sustainable" farming practices that avoid using chemicals and high technology in favour of natural fertilizers, cultivation and pest-control programmes.


  1. Norman Borlaug won a Nobel Prize for _______.

  A) his remarkable achievements in plant genetics

  B) his spectacular contribution to safeguarding world peace

  C) his great success in raising Africa's food production

  D) his enduring efforts in combating world hunger

  2. How did Borlaug's wheat programme go during his first couple of years in Mexico?

  A) It met with resistance.

  B) It was well received.

  C) It achieved unexpected progress.

  D) It succeeded though with difficulty.

  3. What characterised Borlaug's Pitic 62 and Penjamo 62?

  A) Superior ability to breed new high-yielding varieties.

  B) Short and strong stems and resistance to diseases.

  C) Tall and thin stems and extremely large seed heads.

  D) Tendency to collapse under the; weight of extra grain.

  4. What initially prevented Borlaug from achieving large-scale success in India?

  A) Farmers' rejection of his planting techniques.

  B) The persistent drought throughout the country.

  C) Difficulty in importing high-yielding wheat seeds.

  D) The local government's slowness in taking action.

  5. According to United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization, in 40 years between 1961 and 2001 India's grain production ________.

  A) almost doubled

  B) went up by 8 percent

  C) increased nearly three times

  D) rose from 452 million to 1 billion tonnes

  6. Borlaug's success in Africa was not as spectacular as in India or Mexico because ________.

  A) the local farmers were uneducated and conservative

  B) Africa's climate conditions were very different

  C) his project in Africa was not properly managed

  D) Africa lackcd the necessary supporting facilities

  7. What did Borlaug emphasise in his Nobel Prize acceptance spccch?

  A) Abundance of food supply will contribute to world peace and stability.

  B) The Green Revolution will provide adequate food for all mankind.

  C) Adequate food for all mankind is essential in ensuring social justice.

  D) Without the Green Revolution half of the world population would starve.

  8. In recent years Borlaug's Green Revolution has been attracted by __________.

  9. In both developed and developing countries there are concerns whether in the long run Borlaug's farming practices will be ________.

  10. In India, critics attribute the destruction of Indian crop diversity to _______.

  Part III Listening Comprehension (35 minutes)







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