Discuss the successes and failures of Green Revolution. (10 marks)

Discuss the successes and failures of Green Revolution. (10 marks)


  • Introduce with the green revolution
  • Enumerate the success achieved by the green revolution like self-sufficiency, productivity etc.
  • Point out the failures of Green revolution like inequalities, degradation of environment etc.
  • Conclude with the way forward
Model Answer :

The Green Revolution(GR) is known as the introduction of new techniques in agriculture which became popular in the 1960s. The GR was centred around the use of the High Yielding Variety (HYV) of seeds developed by the US agro-scientist Norman Borlaug. Irrigation, Chemical fertiliser and pesticides etc. were the other key components of the GR.

The successes of Green Revolution:

  • Self-sufficiency: India witnessed a growth of 250% in food-grain production since the introduction of Green Revolution making India self-sufficient in food grains.
  • Productivity: Due to HYV seeds, Chemical fertilisers, irrigation and mechanisation of agriculture, per hectare productivity of all crops e.g. wheat, rice, cotton, gram, maize and bajra has increased.
  • Employment: GR generated employment opportunities in diverse sectors where activities were created as a result of multiple cropping and mechanisation of farming. It helped to stimulate the non-farm economy that generated newer employment in various services such as milling, marketing, warehousing etc.
  • Industrial Development: Industries manufacturing agricultural tools like tractors, diesel engines, combines, threshers and pumping sets have been on a growth path since the GR.

The failures of the Green Revolution:

  • Inequality: Both interpersonal and interregional inequality in food-grain production and farmers’ income have been witnessed in GR areas like Punjab & Haryana and Eastern states of India.
  • Degraded Soil: Resulted by repetitive kind of cropping pattern being followed; excessive exploitation of the land; lack of a suitable crop combination and the cropping intensity, etc.
  • Fall in water table: As the new HYV seeds required a comparatively very high amount of water for irrigation e.g. 5 tonnes of water needed to produce 1 kg of rice.
  • Environmental degradation: Due to excessive and uncontrolled use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides have degraded the environment by increasing pollution levels in land, water and air. For example, eutrophication due to agriculture runoff.
  • Toxicity in Food Chain: Unbridled use of chemical pesticides and weedicides and their industrial production combined together had resulted in biomagnification and bioaccumulation of toxic elements in the whole food chain.

The above issues acted as an eye-opener and agri-scientists & policymakers are attempting to reap the benefits from the alternatives like organic farming, second green revolution, rainbow revolution etc.

Subjects : Economy