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Tags: , , , | Category: Agriculture, Farmers, environment

(English) Green revolution and sustainable agriculture

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7 comments to (English) Green revolution and sustainable agriculture

  • Dennis Ramdahin

    Vikas, great article. It seems appropriate to factor the spike in global population
    as placing a demand for food. It is amazing how the unsustainable effects of high
    yield impacted the ecology and environment. How come data during the development
    of high yield varieties didnt forcast this?

    The dependence of agriculture on petroleum based fertilizers is also a big factor as you laid out here, and is typically overlooked. the runoffs from these are attributed to
    huge environmental impacts to water bodies. For example, eutriphication has become
    a big problem for the Chesapeak Bay, estern US.

    These are why environmental pratitioners exist today – to clean up the mess
    that stemmed from previous mistakes, and to advise more sustainable approaches.
    Let’s hope that the next wave of policy-makers will be educated along these lines a
    and will think more sustainably.

  • Vikas

    Food security was the main motivational factor of green revolution. While research in west/developed countries was more toward economic gain and so they turned agriculture into a large scale organised industry. Most of the technology transferred to developing world during green revolution were either exact replica or little modification of industrial agriculture from west. However problems and context in the developing world were very different.
    Some interesting fact, some of the developed countries have enough resources and potential to feed whole world population and they are even trying to monopolise international agriculture trade by subsidising their farmers. This is very contentitious issue in current WTO trade talk. Now think when world is facing food shortage why some developing countries are opposing subsidies to farmers in developed world. How it is hurting Indian farmers when 90% Indian farm produce is consumed internally? The subsidies prices of globally traded agriculture commodities steal from poor peasants of third world countries. A study carried out by the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology (RFSTE) shows that due to decreasing farm prices, Indian peasants are losing $26 billion annually (data from 2001). Global wheat prices had dropped from $216 a ton in 1995 to $133 a ton in 2001; cotton prices from $98.2 a ton in 1995 to $49.1 a ton in 2001…
    So there is socio-political angle to whole story.

  • [...] to 4.38 billion tonnes in 2007. However we paid enormous environmental price (read my other blog on Green revolution and sustainable agriculture). A second green revolution has to be based on a sustainable agrculture which can increase food [...]

  • [...] decades contain the makings of a new revolution (read more about Green revolution in my blog “Green revolution and sustainable agriculture”).  The story of wheat was main success story of Green revolution but later it was replicated [...]

  • Nilesh

    Excellent article Vikas. I just dropped incidently on this blog. You should promote this blog site better.
    Few points about green revolution which I understood and always oppose it.Green revolution as such started as agricultural research but let hijacked by agri MNCs from US.
    Whole bang of green revolution was market gimmick by MNCs. First phase of green revolution marketing opened the door for chemical and fertilisers uses on massive scale and now they have started second round of marketing where they are promoting use of genetically modified seeds. So basically they are trying to capture whole agriculture input marketing.
    The fact that this ‘revolution’ will be based on bio-technology products owned by private corporations had disturbed Indian farmers’ bodies, who have described it as a joint US-India effort to promote the interests of bio-technology-driven MNCs.
    The US already has a significant presence in India’s agricultural and food sectors, accounting for more than half of the $1 billion organised seed market. Of course, four-fifths of India’s farmers do not purchase seeds. They still follow the traditional system of save, exchange and barter. It is this section that the MNCs would like to target.
    American agri-companies have intensified lobbying with Indian political parties is not surprising, for two reasons. First, the Indian government has yet to greenlight the commercialisation of Bt brinjal — crucial for the future of these ‘Bt brand’ companies — even after a thumbs up from the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC).

    Recently US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Indian Agricultural Research Institute and reiterate her country’s commitment to bringing about policy changes in the Indian farm sector that US agri-business would like to see. Cliton’s technology advisor, Nina Federoff, is a strong votary of genetically modified crops, to the extent of being regarded as a spokesperson for US seed multinationals like Monsanto, Dow and DuPont.

    In fact, Federoff triumphantly pointed out to a group of US agri-scientists last year that although Europe and Japan were cautious about GM foods, Africa and India were clamouring for them!

    Look how Clinton is marketing for US agri-business interest, she favoured a strong intellectual property or patent regime (IPR) to safeguard the ownership of agricultural research, as that would be in ‘everyone’s interest’ (how it can be ‘everyone’s interest’?). A contention rejected by Indian agri-policy analysts who say it would primarily benefit owners of biotechnology research — the MNCs who produce genetically modified seeds and will have exclusive marketing rigt (patents would ensure that no one else would be allowed to produce or sell these seeds).

    The conversion of Indian farmers from traditional varieties and public hybrids to commercial hybrids and GM seeds could create a market larger than China. The Seed Bill, 2004, and the National Biotechnology Regulatory Authority Bill are the thin end of the wedge.

    The NBRA Bill, if it becomes an Act, would demolish a raft of existing bio-safety regulations, which would enable easier access to the Indian markets.

    The Seed Bill has been criticised for diluting many provisions of the existing Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, PPVFR, which safeguards the right of Indian farmers to freely save, exchange and barter seeds. (Ref:

  • I can relate, although as a 11th generation farmer in the USA, I had to give it up and make a living elsewhere. Large scale farming caused it, but big farming is more efficient so it has less carbon output, and efficient farming means more healthy CO2 eating plants per acre of land. Either way it is a great spin that makes great sense. agriculture weigh scales help make it all more efficient.

  • microwave

    This post is impressive! I? gonna put this in the bookmarks before I lose the link I don? believe I?l ever find my way back here again otherwise

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