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Need for second “ Green Revolution” or “Evergreen Revolution” in India

Published 01st November 2010 - 1 comments - 5678 views -

In India, the seeds of green revolution were first field tested in the drought years of 1964-65. They were introduced to the Indian scientists by Dr Norman Earnest Borlaug in 1963. India received 100kg seeds each of four dwarf and semi dwarf varieties. These seeds were planted in different soils in Delhi, Ludhiana. Pusa and Kanpur. The yield was over 4000kg per hectare which was about four times the yield of local varieties. These varieties were released for general cultivation after experimentation, multiplication and demonstration by Indian scientists in about 100 different farmer’s fields. In the words of Dr Hassar, The Green Revolution is the phrase generally used to describe the spectacular increase that took place during 1968 and is continuing in the production of foodgrains in India.

The components of the Green Revolution were:

High Yielding Varieties (HYV) of seeds: The main characteristics of the HYV seeds are – increased resposnse to chemical fertilisers, their period of maturing is short, it helps double cropping, their short stems can easily carry fertiliser load, resist wind damage, and their large leaf surface helps the process of photosynthesis.

Irrigation: Irrigation is the second most important component of Green Revolution technology after HYV seeds. The full potential of the HYV seeds cannot be developed without the requisite supply of water. Assured and regular supply of sufficient water to crops not only adds to production, it also assures stability in production. Indian rainfall being unreliable, irregular and seasonal, there is urgent need to expand irrigation potential to meet the requirements of the Green Revolution strategy.

Use of chemical fertilisers: The use of chemical fertilizers has been the third most important input of Green Revolution after HYV seeds and irrigation; rather the three are tied together. In fact use of HYV seeds needs heavy dose of irrigation and fertilizers to give high yields. Since the entire cultivable land has already been brought under plough and there is practically no scope for bringing any new areas under cultivation, further increase in foodgrains production can be achieved only by multiple cropping which heavily leans on the trio of basic inputs i.e.  HYV seeds, irrigation and chemical fertilizers.

Use of Insecticides and Pesticides: Though intensive use of irrigation and fertilizers under the Green Revolution technology has increased the farm production, it has also given birth to the problem of pests, insects, weeds, rodents etc. The monoculture promoted by the Green Revolution technology is more vulnerable to the insects and pests. These pests, weeds and diseases are to be checked by proper doses of pesticides and insecticides.

Farm mechanisation: The shorter maturing period of the HYV seeds enables the farmers to obtain more than one crop in a year from the same piece of land. This would require hastening of the harvesting operations so that land is quickly prepared for the second crop. This will require mechanization of farming. So, much success of Green Revolution depends upon farm mechanization.

Agricultural credit: A large percentage of Indian farming community consists of small and marginal farmers who do not have their own resources to invest in agriculture. Green Revolution technology i.e. HYV seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation water and machinery- all depend on the availability of credit. Cooperatives, Commercial Banks and Regional Rural Banks started extending loans to farmers at easy terms. The cooperatives extended loan of Rs 400 crore in 11967-68 which rose to Rs.695 crore in 1968-69, Rs 3,500 crore in 1985-86 and Rs 4000 crore in 1990-91. Commercial Banks were rationalized in 1969 which made the task of extending loans to farmers very easy. Loans upto Rs. 10000 to small and marginal farmers were exempted in 1990.

Need for Second Green Revolution

Green Revolution in India created a huge impact in terms of crop production but it had several negative impacts like gradual loss of soil fertility, increasing alkalinity and salinity, waterlogging, depletion of ground-water resources, decreasing bio diversity, chemical poisoning of soils, surface water and food. But it had several postive impacts which improved the overall quality and life of the farmers in India. Just like the Green Revolution, too address the climate change effects especially on the agricutlture, there is a need for a second green revolution which could potentially address the negative impacts of the climate change may be through some of the kinds of farming like :

  • Organic Agriculture: cultivation without any use of chemical inputs like mineral fertilizers and chemical pesticides.
  • Green Agriculture: cultivation with the help of integrated pest management, integrated nutrient supply and integrated natural resource management systems.
  • Ecoagriculture: Based on conservation of soil, water and biodiversity and the application of traditional knowledge and ecological prudence.
  • EM Agriculture: system of farming using effective microorganisms (EM).
  • White agriculture: system of agriculture based on substantial use of microorganisms, particularly fungi.
  • One-straw Revolution: system of natural farming without ploughing, chemical fertilizers, weeding and chemical pesticides and herbicides.

This could help address the issues of climate change and agriculture and would further increase productivity in perpetuity without ecological harm.

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