Green Revolution - a Critical Analysis - Agriculture Essay Example

The initiatives involved the development of high-yielding varieties of cereal grains, expansion of irrigation infrastructure, and distribution of hybridized seeds, synthetic fertilizers, and pesticides to farmers - Green Revolution - a Critical Analysis introduction. The term “Green Revolution” has been attributed to William Gaud of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in a speech given to the Society for International Development in March 1968. In December 1969, the Green Revolution was presented by him to the U. S. Congress as a major tool of American foreign policy that provided bright market prospects to the pesticide, fertilizer, seed, and tractor industries in the third world countries. The fertilizers started making its way to India in early 1950s. There were three group of agencies involved in transferring the American modal of agriculture to India- the private American foundations (Rockefeller foundation, Ford Foundation etc), American government and the World Bank.

In 1958 he Indian Agriculture Research Institute which had been set up in 1905was reorganised and Ralph Cummings, the field director of the Rockefeller foundation became its first Dean. The work of Rockefeller foundation and Ford foundation was to facilitate, to introduce the capital intensive agriculture in poor countries with the financial aid of World Bank. Rockefeller foundation also financed trainees form India to learn new technologies form America. All the money was aided by the help of World Bank. But the Indian indigenous breeds and variety was not responsive to these fertilisers.


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Indigenous breeds used to topple from head when fed with fertilisers, due to its higher length of stem from panicle to roots. When fed with fertilisers panicle used to become heavy and finally toppled decreasing the productivity. The research on plants with short stems was discovered by Norman Borlaug in his dwarf variety of wheat through his research in CIMMYT (A research station in Mexico on wheat and maize). The dwarf variety was brought to India in 1963. Soon dwarf rice was also brought from IRRI (International Institute of Rice Research Institute, Philippines).

Interesting fact to note is that these research stations were and still now aided by MNCs like Monsanto, Bayers and DuPont which were looking for their vast market of seeds. Even after these efforts of imperialist nation to enforce the policy of Green Revolution, India was not ready to adopt this agriculture strategy. The Planning Commission was concerned about the foreign exchange costs of importing the fertilisers needed for HYV in a period of severe crisis of balance of payments. Rise of new problems like pest and disease to these HYVs and marginalisation of poor farmers was another concern in front of them.

Only person to support this policy was C. Subhrmaniam then agriculture minister and MS Swaminathan (trained under Norman Borlaug). The occurrence of drought led to severe drop in food production in 1966 and an unprecedented increase in food supply form US. The US president, Lyndon Jhonson, Put Wheat supplies on a short tether. He refused to commit food aid beyond one month in advance until an agreement to adopt the Green Revolution package was signed which was also eased by the death of Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri who was against this deal.

Impact of Green Revolution on Indian Agriculture: Indian agriculture saw a drastic change from sustainable and traditional agriculture to modern and extensive market oriented agriculture. India became from a Begging Bowl to Bread Basket. India is still reaping the fruits of Green revolution with surplus of grains. In the 1960s, rice yields in India was about 2 ton/ha which is now presently 35 tons/ha on an average. India became 2nd most successful rice producers, and is now a major rice exporter, shipping nearly 4. 5 million tons in 2006.

India saw annual wheat production rise from 10 mt in 1960s to 73 million in 2006. Indian became a begging bowl to bread basket. Famine was checked.. The production and productivity of India jumped 4 folds which can be seen in next table. ParticularsYear 1960-1961Year 2003-04 Area(in ha)97. 32124. 4 Production(in mt)50. 82212. 05 Productivity(kg/ha)5221707 Every coin has its two sides, so did had the Green Revolution. Green revolution created interregional disparities The HYVs were tested first in Punjab since these HYVs required high irrigation.

This was the drawback of these varieties that it couldn’t be grown with profitability in area with lower water availability. In a country like India which has its only 40% land irrigated brought wealth in one part of the country and poverty on the other side where this technology was adopted. The other issue which came into existence was of credit. Wealthier farmer had money to put into new technology for the initial inputs and they were well available with credit provided by the govt.

Poor farmers which took loans in resource less areas for inputs of fertilisers, pesticides etc led to indebtness and which pushed them to vicious circle of poverty. This way GR also helped in class disparities. Many small farmers were also hurt by the dropping prices resulting from increased production especially in Punjab. The Punjab used to supply grains to maximum part of the country. State used to buy grains from the farmer without assured prices and MSP. The high dependence on credit necessary for high inputs and the falling rates of return on investment had left most Punjab farmers heavily indebted.

Squeezed by the e debts and declining returns, due to increased incidence of disease and pest, Punjab’s farmers were protesting through the state during the first half of 1984 under Bhartiya Kisan Union (0BKU). Loan recovery staff were not allowed to enter into the villages of as released by the order of BKU The discontent among the farmers increased led to farmer’s movement. In May 1984 this farmer’s agitation was at its height in Punjab. Around 1500-20000 farmers got collected to boycott the grain market against the Central govt. policy of procurement at lower prices and they also stopped sales of grains to FCI.

This huge movement was brutally crushed by army giving farmer’s movement a religious identity though it has no connection to the separate state movement. The peculiar things about these HYVs was that they were very succulent in nature and this characteristic made these alien varieties more prone to new type of disease, to which our local varieties were resistant. India saw 40 new insects’ pests and 12 new diseases in Rice monoculture in. During 1980s expenditure on chemical fertilizer involved about 40-52 % of the total expenditure of participating farmers, on seed ranged between 2-16%, and on pesticides.

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