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The Green Revolution In India

The Green Revolution In India






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    The Green Revolution In India The Green Revolution In India Presentation Transcript

    • The Green Revolution in India Changing Agricultural Traditions Laura Mulvey
    • What was the green revolution? • A movement starting post WWII to address food shortages in developing countries • International relief organizations invested in research to breed more productive rice and wheat crops • New agricultural technologies were brought to India- fertilizer, agrochemicals, new types of irrigation
    • Major issues • Conflict between western and traditional indigenous views • Development • Science • Agriculture • Environment • An effort to break ecological limits that resulted in new types of insecurity and vulnerability • Political, cultural and economic issues inherent in green revolution exacerbated political, ethnic and religious tensions
    • Why was a revolution needed? • Famine had ripped though parts of India in the past, and many economists and agricultural scientists predicted worse famine in the future is a new plan was not put in place • Overpopulation was stretching India’s food resources • Government inability to ensure proper movement of good to areas that were in need
    • What were the political consequences? • Growing Fears in US about spread of communism • Food insecurity created political insecurity which could lead to communist uprisings • Part of the US strategy to combat communism was to ensure food security in President Truman visiting the International developing countries Rice Research Institute in the Philippines
    • Green revolution vs. traditional agriculture • Green revolution introduced High Yielding Crop Varieties (HYCVs) to India • HYCVs required constant input of agrochemicals (pesticides etc.) and fertilizers • New irrigation techniques were implemented • HYCV seeds and agrochemicals needed to be obtained from NGOs or from large distributors • Created difficult environment for small farmers • Seed had traditionally been harvested yearly from the field, now farming required lots of inputs
    • High yield crop varieties (HYCVs) • International Rice Research Institute, IRRI • IR8 “miracle seed” – Cooking quality issues – Pest resistance issues • With proper inputs (fertilizer, chemicals) could produce up to 5x more grain per hectare • Semi dwarf varieties developed Distribution plant for IR8 in Africa – More plant mass found in grain – Resistant to high winds
    • Agrochemicals •Fertilizers had not been used on traditional crop varieties, promoted vegetation growth without increasing yield •Pesticide use necessary, many HYCV had poor pest resistance • Issues from improper use of agrochemicals • Farmers wee not always taught proper application techniques • Toxic issues from pesticides • Over fertilization • Most fertilizers imported from US • Created large market for fertilizer manufacturing • Many war time explosive manufacturing plants converted to fertilizer manufacturing
    • How did India benefit? • Increased Crop Yield seen in majority of HYCV areas • Large expansion of HYCV use continued well though the 80’s • Farms with proper use of agrochemicals/fertilizers saw dramatic increase • Benefit not seen as much in small farms • Eventually in most areas crop yield plateaued and subsequently fell
    • What were the ecological consequences? • Problems with soil fertility • Micronutrient issues • Increased dependence of external applications of fertilizer • Water quality issues • Ecological degradation caused returns to decrease at the years went on • Loss of diversity Activist poster from the 1980s • Improper application of calling for an end to pesticide pesticides caused poisoning use
    • What were the social and political consequences • Changed the nature of agriculture, from internal to external inputs (buying seed, fertilizer etc) • The commercialization of relationships and subsequent cultural erosion • The rapid increase in grain in the first several years drove down the price of food, harder for small farmers to make a profit • It increased competition for smaller resources, rural inequality
    • What were the social and political consequences • Seed and chemical distribution was controlled by the Indian government, the top-down approach created tensions in the state • Decreasing return on investments caused many farmers to blame government • Increased ethnic and religious tensions • Feelings of resentment among farmers • Farm riots
    • Crisis in Punjab • Punjab region once known as India's “bread basket” • Inhabited by Sikh minority • Tensions between state and central Indian government over control of agricultural economics • Increased ethnic/religious tensions • Call for formation of independent Sikh state
    • Crisis in Punjab Cultural issues: -commercialization Nature of green Economic & of relationships revolution: Political tensions: -cultural erosion -conflict over - sharing of power -homogenized resources between state and ethnic identities -class conflict central government -pauperization -top down regulations -declines of profitability - Feelings of weakness from local Crisis in -environmental and state degridation Punjab government -violence -resentment
    • How does this relate to environmental history? • Changed how farmers interacted with the environment – Movement to high tech centralized agriculture – Commercialization of major grain seed • Illustrates relationships between environmental degradation and political/social issues