What is the Green Revolution?
Ever since early man began cultivating land, he has been trying to improve the quality of seeds and yields. The ‘Green Revolution’ was initiated by Norman Ernest Borlaug an American agronomist who is considered as the “Father of Green Revolution’. It was his initiative to encourage the use of high yielding varieties of grains, better irrigation facilities etc.
Motive behind the Green Revolution
This revolution began as a measure to improve and increase the production of food globally by using better and improved irrigation facilities, pesticides and fertilizers, use of high yielding grains etc.
The successful use of various agricultural experiments refers to the ‘Green Revolution’ that took place in various developing countries. India is one of the countries where the Green Revolution had an excellent success rate.
Success of Green Revolution
- The widespread shortage of food after the Second World War led to the need for better and improved systems of agriculture to provide food for the world.
- The revolution is believed to have begun in Northwest Mexico after improved varieties of wheat increased the yield due to all the technological factors.
- These new and improved practices replaced the traditional methods of farming in most developing countries. Rice, wheat and corn were the crops that found new life.
Green Revolution in India
- India was facing a massive famine situation in the 1960’s. This lead to India joining the Green Revolution.
- Our government chose the state of Punjab as the first place to try the new crop due to the availability of water for agriculture.
- India wanted to be self – sufficient in providing food for the large growing nation.
- To improve the yield, the green revolution adopted high yielding seeds, use of pesticides, various land reforms, new and improved infrastructure in rural areas, use of good fertilizers, easy and effective credit facilities to farmers and the establishment of good agricultural institutes and colleges.
- India grew one crop a year due to its rainfall season, the primary aspect of the green revolution was double cropping that was to grow two crops per season instead of the earlier practice of one crop. Large irrigation projects were set up to ensure the second crop farming every year.
- India produced new high quality yields of rice, wheat, corn and millet which lead to the increase of grains by millions of tonnes every year.
The Green Revolution Essay
Broad Topic: The Green Revolution
Narrowed Topic: Pesticides and the Green Revolution: The impact on the environment and counter- measures.
The green revolution technology phenomenon started in Mexico over sixty years ago. The technology which is still relevant today has, forever changed the way agriculture is conducted worldwide. According to Wilson (2005), green revolution technology “involved using high-yielding varieties (HYV) of seeds, pesticides and fertilizers in addition to irrigation” (para. 4). The technology was used mainly to boost the production of wheat and rice, so that developing countries could keep up with the growing demand of their rising population. The process has led to significant increase in food grain production. Burton ( 2009) documented that it took almost 10,000 years to bring food grain production up to 1 billion tons in 1960 and only 40 years to reach 2 billion in 2000. The success of the green revolution technology is greatly lauded and is still evident today. However, along with accompanying success, was tremendous increase in the use of pesticides. Wilson also reported that pesticides used in Sri Lanka increased from 59 metric tons in 1970 to 6742 metric tons in 1995. Although these pesticides used then and now are useful for killing pests (insect, weed, microbes that compete with human for food, spread disease or cause a nuisance), there were and still are many health and safety issues associated with them. Consequently, there are growing concerns among several stakeholders that while the green revolution may have proven to be a success, there has been a price to pay with regard to the unintended negative impact of pesticides and needed counter-measures. Pesticides associated with green revolution technology can lead to ill-health of farmers and water and air contamination, but there are protective measures that can be taken to mitigate these unintended effects.
One of the most worrying concerns for farmers associated with green revolution farming is probably the health risk, associated with prolonged exposure to pesticides. Wilson (2005) cited Wilson and Tisdell (2001), calls our readers’ attention to the fact that “insecticides are the most frequently used pesticides and are known to be toxic to humans, wildlife and the environment” (para.6). Toxic residue adds up over the years and can lead to long term and short term, chronic illnesses and life long complications and is even known to cause death. Furthermore, farmers who get ill from exposure to pesticides often suffer from, headaches, skin rashes, nausea, twitching of muscles, chest pains and a host of other illnesses. This has led to various stakeholders amplifying the need, for a new approach to pesticides usage. Shaebecoff (1983) highlighted the challenges of enforcing safety regulations in regards to the use and banning of pesticides, while Tillman (1998) called for the need of high-intensity agriculture with...
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