Food is one of the basic necessities for survival of living creatures on this earth. It is what gives us energy through various oxidative processes involving breakdown of food molecules to release ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) which is the energy currency of the cell. Early men were wanderers surviving on fruits and vegetables that grew wildly, but their primary source of food was animals that were hunted by them.
However, hunting is a strenuous process and is a matter of hit-or-miss. Therefore man started to look for ways by which they could get food without much hunting. This led to the emergence of agriculture, however, in its crudest form. This practice was refined through the ages by trial and error and has now reached a level where we can easily feed all the mouths without the need for running after animals and hunting them.
Archaeologists and historians are of the view that agriculture started roughly 20,000 BC near the river banks of the Mesopotamian civilization in the form of wild grains.
As agriculture became more developed, there was enough food which nourished men, as a result, survival rates started to incline. With advancement of science, technology, and healthcare aids the survival rates further improved.
With a decline in mortality rates, the population boom made it inevitable for large scale revolutionary methods to be adopted for meeting the exponentially increasing demands.
Agriculture is one of the most important aspects of survival because food is one of the few things that can never be manufactured in factories from scratch.
The only way of putting food to the table is agriculture. India has a special place for agriculture because more than two-thirds of its population is engaged in agricultural activities, and because of the growing population, it becomes imperative for us to adopt Green Revolution.
What is Green Revolution?
Green revolution was the name given to trailblazing modernization techniques that were applied to the existing agricultural procedures in order to maximize outputs to unimaginable extents in order to feed the ever increasing mouths. Norman Borlaug, winner of Nobel Peace Prize 1970 is credited for the initiation of this green revolution.
Had it not for him, billions of human beings today would have died of starvation, and the human race would be cringing on verge of extinction. Mexico was one of the first countries where this new technique was adopted and the results were nothing short of mesmerizing. After this success, it was gradually introduced in Asia, the Middle-East, and Latin America.
Green Revolution in India
Indian agriculture faced a major problem post-independence. After partition of 1947, all the profitably cultivable lands went to the side of Pakistan while we in India were left with the cotton mills. There were various other problems that India faced immediately after independence which called for the Green Revolution drive.
- Small and fragmented land holdings
- Poor quality of seeds
- Lack of proper use of fertilizers and manures
- Pests and diseases
- Traditional upbringing.
The Green Revolution in late sixties brought a turning point in Indian agriculture. Under the Intensive Agriculture Development Programme (IADP), several measures were adopted simultaneously.
These programs were aimed at transforming the agriculture sector and increase the food crop production to meet the increased demands. These programs were headed by the leading Indian geneticist and agriculturist Dr. MS Swaminathan, also known as the Indian ‘Father of Green Revolution’. The following measures were adopted:
- Use of High Yielding Varieties (HYV) of seeds
- Modern techniques of irrigation were adopted.
- Use and awareness of pesticides and insecticides was increased.
- Consolidation of holdings was facilitated.
- Land reforms were introduced.
- Rural electrification programs were undertaken for promoting the use of electric motors and pumps for irrigation.
- Rural infrastructure was improved.
- Supply of agricultural credit was made easy and ample.
- Awareness about chemical fertilizers was increased.
Advantages of Green Revolution
- Genetically modified (GM) seeds were introduced that were resistant to insects and pests.
- High yielding varieties (HYV) were used which produced several times the quantity of regular breeds. For example, the Japonica paddy hybrid is extremely popular in India and gives tremendous outputs.
- Newer methods of cultivation such as the Japanese method were adopted which used less but higher quality seeds. The seedlings are transplanted in rows to make weeding and fertilizing easy. This method ensures yields three times that of regular method.
- Primitive methods like Jhooming agriculture were completely disbanded. Jhooming cultivation, also called slash and burn agriculture was the cultivation of a crop and then burning the entire field after harvesting and moving in to new strip of land to do the same.
- Green revolution drive professed the acquisition of fragments to facilitate harvesting on a collective and large scale that would minimize overhead losses thereby increasing yield, output and monetary profits.
Green revolution has numerous benefits. However, there are some negative impacts of it on the environment, as argued by some.
- Because of extreme genetic modification and creation of disease resistant crops, the pests undergo evolution and become more deadly and difficult to control at a later stage. They themselves get acquired immunity.
- A large quantity of chemical fertilizers being used to maximize yield has an extremely negative impact on soil health and also pollutes the groundwater with harmful chemicals.
Green revolution is one of the noblest thoughts to have ever stirred human minds. It is an innovative tool which if used effectively can help us sustain our species further into the future. Our coming generation will not have to ever worry about dying by starvation or scarcity of available food crops.
Although a section of environmentalists argue that it has a negative impact on the ecosystem. Here we need to keep in mind that some dangers are inevitable.
The benefits of Green revolution far outweigh the negativities associated with it. Being able to feed hungry mouths is more important than fussing over abstract figures to hold green revolution on in bad light will be only nothing but sheer ignorance to the benefits that it has offered and will keep on offering in the future.