The Green Revolution was an effort initiated by Norman Borlaug in the 1960s. He is known in the world as the ‘Father of Green Revolution. In 1970, Norman Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in developing High Yielding Varieties (HYVs). The Green Revolution in India was mainly led by M.S. By Swaminathan. The Green Revolution resulted in a massive increase in the production of food grains (particularly wheat and rice). It was begun in the middle of the 20th century due to the use of new, high-yielding varieties of seeds in developing countries. Its initial success was seen in Mexico and the Indian subcontinent. The Green Revolution define as the period 1967-68 and 1977-78 took India out of the category of food-deficient country and transformed it into the category of leading agricultural countries of the world.
Objectives of Green Revolution
- The Green Revolution was started during the Second Five Year Plan to overcome the problem of hunger in India.
- The long term objectives include rural development, modernization of holistic agriculture based on industrial development; development of infrastructure, supply of raw materials etc.
- For providing employment to workers in both agricultural and industrial sectors.
- To produce healthy plants, able to withstand favorable/unfavorable climate and diseases.
- To disseminate technology to non-industrialized nations and to encourage the establishment of corporations in major agricultural sectors.
Fundamentals of Green Revolution
Expansion of Agricultural Area
Although the area of cultivable land was being expanded since 1947. It was not sufficient to meet the increasing demand for food grains. The Green Revolution has helped in the expansion of agricultural land.
Dual Cropping System
Dual cropping was a primary feature of the Green Revolution. Under this, it was decided to get two crops in a year instead of one. Getting one crop per year was based on the fact that the rainy season comes only once a year. In the second phase of the Green Revolution, major irrigation projects were started for the supply of water. Dams were built and other simple irrigation techniques were also adopted.
Use of Advanced Genetics Seeds
The use of superior genetics seeds was the scientific aspect of the Green Revolution. New varieties of high-yielding seeds, mainly wheat, rice, millet, and maize seeds were developed by the Indian Council for Agricultural Research.
Important crops involved in the revolution
The main crops are wheat, rice, Jawar, millet, and maize. Non-foodgrain crops were kept out of the purview of the new strategy. Wheat remained the mainstay of the Green Revolution for many years.
Green Revolution in India:
Background of Green Revolution in India:
In 1943, India was the country suffering the most food crisis in the world. About 4 million people died of hunger in eastern India due to the famine in Bengal. However, after independence in the year 1947, till the year 1967, the government focused largely on the expansion of agricultural sectors. But the country’s population growth was growing at a much faster rate than food production.
The rapidly increasing population stressed the need to take immediate and drastic action to increase food production. It culminated in the emergence of the Green Revolution. Green Revolution in India refers to the period when Indian agriculture was transformed into an industrialized system due to the adoption of modern methods and technologies like high-yielding seed varieties, tractors, irrigation facilities, use of pesticides, and fertilizers.
It was funded by the Government of India and the Ford and Rockefeller Foundation of America. The Green Revolution in India is largely a Wheat Revolution between 1967-68. And 2003-04 the production of wheat increased by more than three times, while the total increase in the production of cereals was only two times.
Positive Effects of Green Revolution
Increase in crop production
This resulted in the production of 131 million tonnes of food grains in the year 1978-79 and established India as the world’s largest agricultural producer. During the Green Revolution, the cropped area under high-yielding varieties of wheat and rice increased significantly.
Reduction in food grains imports
India became self-sufficient in food grains and there was sufficient stock in the central pool. Even India was in a position to export food grains. The per capita net availability of food grains has also increased.
The benefit to farmers
The introduction of the Green Revolution increased the income level of farmers. Farmers reinvest their surplus income to improve agricultural productivity. Large farmers with more than 10 hectares of land benefited from this revolution. Especially by investing large amounts in various inputs like HYV seeds, fertilizers, machines, etc. It also promoted capitalist farming.
The Green Revolution promoted agricultural mechanization on a large scale. It led to the demand for different types of machines such as tractors, harvesters, threshers, combines, diesel engines, electric motors, pumping sets, etc. Apart from this, the demand for chemical fertilizers, insecticides, weedicides, etc. has also increased significantly. Many agricultural products were also used as raw materials in various industries known as agro-based industries.
There was a significant increase in the demand for the labor force due to multi-cropping and the use of fertilizers. Various employment opportunities were created by the Green Revolution. Not only for agricultural workers but also for industrial workers by the construction of facilities related to factories and hydroelectric power stations.
Negative Effects of Green Revolution
Non-Food Cereals Excluded
Although all food grains including wheat, rice, jawar, Bajra, and maize were produced at the revolution level. Other crops such as coarse cereals, pulses, and oilseeds were kept out of the purview of the Green Revolution. Major commercial crops like cotton, jute, tea, and sugarcane also remained virtually untouched by the Green Revolution.
Limited coverage of HYVP
The High Yielding Variety Program (HYVP) was limited to only five crops: wheat, rice, sorghum, bajra, and maize. Therefore, non-food grains were kept out of the purview of the new strategy. HYV seeds in non-food crops were either not developed yet or farmers were not ready to take the risk of using them.
Green Revolution technology further exacerbated inequalities in economic development at the intra-regional and intra-regional levels. The effect of the Green Revolution has so far been visible only on 40 percent of the total cropped area. 60 percent of the area is still untouched by it. Its maximum impact is in Punjab, Haryana, and western UP in the north and Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu in the south.
It has hardly been affected in the eastern region including Assam, Bihar, West Bengal, and Odisha, and the arid and semi-arid regions of western and southern India. The Green Revolution affected only those areas which were already in better condition from the point of view of agriculture. Thus the problem of regional inequality has increased as a result of the Green Revolution.
Excessive use of chemicals
The Green Revolution resulted in improved irrigation projects and large-scale use of pesticides and synthetic nitrogen fertilizers for crop varieties. No effort was made to educate farmers about the high risks associated with the intensive use of pesticides.
Pesticides were generally sprayed on crops by untrained agricultural laborers without following instructions or precautions. This causes more harm than benefit to the crops and also causes pollution of the environment and soil.
The crops that were included in the Green Revolution were water-intensive crops. Most of these crops were cereals/foodgrains which require about 50% water supply. Canal systems were introduced, as well as increased use of irrigation pumps. It further brought down the groundwater table, as crops requiring more water supply, such as sugarcane and rice, led to a decline in groundwater levels due to intensive irrigation. Punjab is a major wheat and rice-growing region, hence it is one of the most water-deficient regions in India.
Effects on Soil and Crop Production
Repeated adoption of the same crop rotation to ensure an increase in crop production. It leads to the depletion of nutrients in the soil. Fertilizers were used more by the farmers according to the needs of the new types of seeds. The use of these alkaline chemicals has led to an increase in the pH level of the soil. Beneficial pathogens were destroyed by the use of toxic chemicals in the soil, leading to a further decline in yield.
Agricultural mechanization under the Green Revolution has led to widespread unemployment among agricultural laborers in rural areas, except in Punjab and to a lesser extent in Haryana. Its greatest impact was seen on the poor and landless laborers.
The widespread use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides such as phosphamidon, methomyl, triazophos, and monocrotophos. It resulted in a number of serious health ailments including cancer, kidney failure, stillbirth, and birth defects.
Overall, the Green Revolution was defined as a major achievement for many developing countries, especially India. It helped in ensuring national food security. It represents the successful adaptation and transfer of the scientific revolution in agriculture that the industrialized countries had already employed.
However, apart from ensuring food security, less attention was paid to other factors like environment, poor farmers and making them aware about the use of chemicals, etc.
As a way forward, policymakers should more precisely target the poor to ensure that they receive more direct benefits from new technologies. And that the technologies adopted are more environmentally sustainable and sustainable.
At the same time, taking lessons from the mistakes of the past, it needs to be ensured that such initiatives cover a wide area, rather than a limited one, to benefit all.