The Green Revolution In India

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The Green Revolution In India

  1. 1. The Green Revolution in India Changing Agricultural Traditions Laura Mulvey
  2. 2. 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
  3. 3. 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
  4. 4. 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
  5. 5. 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
  6. 6. 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
  7. 7. 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
  8. 8. 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
  9. 9. 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
  10. 10. 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
  11. 11. 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
  12. 12. 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
  13. 13. 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
  14. 14. 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
  15. 15. 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

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