Green Revolution means the application of science to increasing agricultural productivity, including the breeding of high-yield varieties of grains, the effective use of pesticides, and improved fertilization, irrigation, mechanization, and soil conservation techniques.Green Revolution refers to a series of research, development, and technology transferinitiatives, occurring between 1943 and the late 1970s, that increased industrialized agriculture production in India; however, the yield increase has also occurred world wide.The initiatives involved the development of high-yielding varieties of cereal grains, expansion of irrigation infrastructure, and distribution of hybridized seeds, synthetic fertilizers, and pesticides to farmers.
The term "Green Revolution refers to the renovation of agricultural practices beginning in Mexico in the 1940s. Because of this success in producing more agricultural product there, Green Revolution technologist spread world wide in the 1950 and 1960s, significantly increasing the amount of calories product per acre of agriculture land. The United States for instance, imported about half of its wheat in the 1940s but after using Green Revolution technologies, it became self-sufficient in the 1950s and became an exporter by 1960.
In order to continue using Green Revolution technologies to produce more food for a growing nation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Ford Foundation, as well as many government agencies around the world funded increased research. In 1963 with the help of this funding, Mexico formed an international research institution called The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center.
The program resulted in a substantial increase in the production of food grains, mainly wheat and rice. Food-grain yields continued to increase throughout the 1980s, but the dramatic changes in the years between 1965 and 1980 were not duplicated. By FY 1980, almost 75 percent of the total cropped area under wheat was sown with high-yielding varieties. For rice the comparable figure was 45 percent. In the 1980s, the area under high-yielding varieties continued to increase, but the rate of growth overall was slower. The eighth plan aimed at making high-yielding varieties available to the whole country and developing more productive strains of other crops.
While agricultural output increased as a result of the Green Revolution, the energy input into the process (that is, the energy that must be expended to produce a crop) has also increased at a greater rate, so that the ratio of crops produced to energy input has decreased over time. Green Revolution techniques also heavily rely on chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, some of which must be developed from fossil fuels, making agriculture increasingly reliant on petroleum products. Countries all over the world in turn benefited from the Green Revolution work conducted by Borlaug and this research institution. India for example was on the brink of mass famine in the early 1960s because of its rapidly growing population. Borlaug and the Ford Foundation then implemented research there and they developed a new variety of rice, IR8 that produced more grain per plant when grown with irrigation and fertilizers. Today, India is one of the world's leading rice producers and IR8 rice usage spread throughout Asia in the decades following the rice's development in India.
The world's worst
recorded food disaster happened in 1943 in British-ruled India. Known as
the Bengal Famine, an estimated
four million people
died of hunger that year
alone in eastern India (that included today's Bangladesh). On the other
hand, when the British left India four years later in 1947, India
continued to be haunted by memories of the Bengal Famine. It was therefore
natural that food security was a paramount item on free India's agenda.
This awareness led, on one hand, to the Green Revolution in India and, on
the other, legislative measures to ensure that businessmen would never
again be able to hoard food for reasons of profit.
The term "Green Revolution" is a general one that is applied to successful agricultural experiments in many Third World countries. It is NOT specific to India. But it was most successful in India. In 2006, Dr Norman Borlaug widely known as the 'Father of India's Green Revolution', was presented India's second highest civilian honour, the PadmaVibhushan, by India's ambassador in Mexico City.
The Green Revolution has also been criticized as unsustainable. It requires immense amounts of capital each year to purchase equipment and fertilizers. This may lead to a cycle of debt if a farmer is unable to pay off the loans required each year. Additionally, the crops require so much water that water tables in some regions of India have dropped dramatically. If this drop continues, it is possible that the process of desertification may take place. Already, the low water is starting the process of salinization. If continued, this would leave the land infertile, spelling disaster for India . The series of agriculture change caused the impact of change and rated Green Revolution as just an increase in the food grain production. But it was the decision of the scientists, extensions functionaries, policy makers, political system and above all the Indian farmer to go major changes, alternation and improvements in his way of farming. The first is that the increased amount of food production has led to overpopulation worldwide. The second major criticism is that places like Africa have not significantly benefited from the Green Revolution. The major problems surrounding the use of these technologies here though are a lack of infrastructure, governmental corruption, and insecurity in nations. Despite these criticisms though, the Green Revolution has forever changed the way agriculture is conducted worldwide, benefiting the people of many nations in need of increased food production.
The Green Revolution nearly quadrupled the production of rice and wheat, transforming India’s fertile areas into ‘granaries’. India was no longer dependent on the foreign grain and food aid shipments from the United States. With increased production, India repaid her loans, while progressing on the path to self-sufficiency. A few decades down the road, it is evident that the benefits of the Green Revolution are associated with unanticipated harmful effects of chemicals.
have linked the use of pesticides and chemicals to diseases such as cancer. Researchers attribute an increase in stillborn babies, and ailments such as kidney failure, to the misuse of pesticides. Widespread use of pesticides has contaminated drinking water supplies and is linked to other life-threatening diseases.
A more painful reminder is the scene at the Bhatinda railway station in Punjab. At 9.20 pm everyday, a passenger train leaves Bhatinda town for Bikaner in Rajasthan. The train is known as the Cancer Train as it carries patients and their families to the cancer treatment center. The patients are bound for the Acharya Tulsi Regional Cancer Treatment and Research Center.
Pesticide companies blame farmers for not adhering to prescribed quantities and not using protective gear. Workers who spray the chemicals blame landlords for not investing in protection, and companies for not properly informing them of the dangers of exposure. Farmers claim it is greedy dealers who push them to spray more, and also blame the government’s failure to change its policies after the harmful side effects of the Green Revolution began showing.
The uncontrolled poisoning of soil and water due to excessive use of pesticides and chemicals has left the once fertile regions barren. Unable to bear the predicament of a lost livelihood and inability to repay huge loans, farmers are committing suicides.
If India intends to avoid another food crisis in the near future, it has to address these issues now. What India needs is a farming system that is sustainable. A system that produces good yields, protects the environment, and is safe.