The man who reinvented wheat

In the 1920s, agronomist Nazareno Strampelli managed to double cereal production. Will anyone replicate this feat?

Who will feed the five thousand next?

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Italy is unfortunately a country that tends to forget its heroes – especially if they are scientists. That’s why we’ve dedicated this capsule to Nazareno Strampelli. “Who was he?” Manzoni would have said. Strampelli was one of the people to whom we owe the defeat of hunger. He was one of the first agronomists in the world to put into practice the laws of heredity by applying them to the genetic improvement of wheat, successfully doubling production of it over the 1920s and 1930s. Our exit from poverty began there.

In 2010, an Italian television news programme broadcast a segment dedicated to Strampelli, his life and connections to particular episodes in history, such as Mussolini’s “battle for wheat”.

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