Discuss the successes and failures of Green Revolution.

Approach

  • Introduce with the green revolution
  • Enumerate the success achieved by 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 draught of 1966 also made it inevitable to develop new technique of agriculture to increase the production and make India self-sufficient in food grains. So, the HYVs (High Yielding Varieties) of seeds for wheat (from Mexico) and rice (from Philippines) were introduced in 1966-67. Coupled with use of chemical fertilization and better irrigation, these techniques were employed on full scale in Punjab & Haryana. This initiative was known as Green Revolution (GR) because of which surprising levels of productivity were achieved.

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.

Failures of Green Revolution

  • Regional Imbalance: The states in which GR was introduced became prosperous while the other regions, specially drought prone areas, were left behind. Irrigation coverage was optimum in IADP covered areas while other areas, which direly needed irrigation, were not adequately covered. Similarly, fertilizer availability, credit availability, technology availability etc were high in these areas.
  • Class Disparity: The benefits of GR were primarily reaped by the rich farmers as they had large land area, high amount of funds to invest in buying fertilizers, machines, HYV seeds etc. Majority of farmers on the other hand had small land holdings, less funds to invest; hence they could not be benefited much from GR. In this way, GR further widened the gap between the rich and the poor farmers.
  • Crop Disparity: Green revolution was primarily beneficial for wheat production and to some extent rice production. However, the crops like pulses, oilseeds, coarse cereals (jowar, bajra) continued to have low production.
  • Degraded Soil: Soil quality has degraded due to repetitive kind of cropping pattern, excessive exploitation of the land, lack of a suitable crop combination etc.
  • Fall In Water Table: The new HYV seeds required comparatively very high amount of water for irrigation, which resulted in lowering of water table. E.g. 5 tonnes of water needed to produce 1 kg of rice.
  • Environmental Degradation:The excessive and uncontrolled use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides have degraded the environment by increasing pollution levels in land, water and air. E.g., 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.

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