Asian Affairs, Vol. 26, No. 3 : 41-60, July-September, 2004        CDRB                                       ASIAN AFFAIR...
CORRELATIONS BETWEEN GREEN REVOLUTION                                                    ASIAN AFFAIRS(Findlay et al., 199...
CORRELATIONS BETWEEN GREEN REVOLUTION                                                        ASIAN AFFAIRSThe debate      ...
CORRELATIONS BETWEEN GREEN REVOLUTION                                                     ASIAN AFFAIRSis that the poor pe...
CORRELATIONS BETWEEN GREEN REVOLUTION                                                     ASIAN AFFAIRSnon-governmental mi...
CORRELATIONS BETWEEN GREEN REVOLUTION                                                         ASIAN AFFAIRSsociety, a fami...
CORRELATIONS BETWEEN GREEN REVOLUTION                                                   ASIAN AFFAIRSlack of capital (Alau...
CORRELATIONS BETWEEN GREEN REVOLUTION                                                    ASIAN AFFAIRScost of child rearin...
CORRELATIONS BETWEEN GREEN REVOLUTION                                                                ASIAN AFFAIRS        ...
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  1. 1. Asian Affairs, Vol. 26, No. 3 : 41-60, July-September, 2004 CDRB ASIAN AFFAIRS publication food crisis and steps to meet it” which concluded that population growth would reach a point of land exhaustion in India by early 1960s (Vosti et al, 1994: 1-2).CORRELATIONS BETWEEN GREEN REVOLUTION Such concerns of hunger, malnutrition, poverty and humanitar-AND POPULATION GROWTH: REVISITED IN THE ian catastrophe associated with population growth prompted the CONTEXT OF BANGLADESH AND INDIA plant scientists to think otherwise. It was during this time, the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) launched its Freedom from Hunger campaign and followed it with an Indicative World Plan for ABM ZIAUR RAHMAN Agricultural Development, in the first World Food Congress of 1963. Abstract : One of the major arguments for promoting 2nd green The plan was based on the introduction of high-yielding varieties revolution (GR) with genetically modified crops hangs on the need (HYV) of cereals developed by International Rice Research Institute for feeding a large number of world population. The same argument (IRRI) in the Philippines and the International Maize and Wheat was presented during the 1st GR. In this regard, while Malthus Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) in Mexico. These were short-stemmed foresaw that population increases with the increase in real income, and quick maturing varieties of crops. The former quality of the Vosti on the country theorised that population decreases with the growth in GR induced income. Keeping this in perspective, the pa- plant prevented it from being blown over by wind and the latter one per examines the impacts of GR technologies in the demographic made possible the growth of three crops on the same land every pattern of Bangladesh and India. year (Gourlay, 1992: 50). Combined with right amount of fertiliser, pesticide, irrigation and mechanisation in the ideal laboratory con- T HE RECENT DEBATE THROUGHOUT THE GLOBE IS CONCERNING THE dition, these HYVs produced harvests 3 to 4 times higher than that 2nd green revolution (GR) with genetically modified (GM) crops. of the traditional local varieties (LV). However, in real life conditionsOne of the major arguments in favour of the promotion of the GM the increase was at best two times (Bhagavan, et al, 1973: 3). Evencrops is to feed the large number of world population. The same that was considered to be phenomenal growth. This new technologyargument was there during the 1st GR and in this respect it is im- in cereal production became known as the 1 st GR (henceforthportant to study the correlation between the 1st GR and its impact referred to as GR). The high-yielding varieties of wheat and rice haveon population growth. spread more widely, more quickly, than any other technological innovation in the history of agriculture in the South. In his famous book Summery View of the Principle of Populationpublished in 1830, Thomas Malthus postulated that unchecked Malthus during the early 19th century seemed to have failed topopulation growth would increase geometrically while the means of apprehend the effects of technological changes in food production.supporting the population, in other words resources, would increase Contrary to Malthusian pessimism, Ester Boserup postulated a morein arithmetic fashion. The consequences of such an imbalance would, optimistic hypothesis concerning the relationship betweenin Malthus’ opinion, likely to result in vice, famine or war. Higher population and agricultural production. She suggested that at higherrate of population growth than that of food production throughout population densities, more labour intensive systems are adoptedthe Third World countries including South Asia during early 1960s only because these offer higher total level of food production ratherseemed to have provided ‘a perfect case of Malthusian economics’. than higher returns to the individual agriculturists involved. TheIn 1959, the Ford Foundation carried out an analysis on “India’s logical conclusion arising from Boserup’s hypothesis is that population growth leads to development rather than hindering itCopyright©CDRB, ISSN 0254-4199 42
  2. 2. CORRELATIONS BETWEEN GREEN REVOLUTION ASIAN AFFAIRS(Findlay et al., 1994:51). Although argued, her theory seems to possibly stationary in 1971-74, but the 1989 BFS appeared to showsupport the correlation between GR and population growth – that fertility had subsequently fallen by almost 20 percent and eachincreased population pressure led to the development of GR survey in the 1990s has reported successively lower fertility andtechnologies. higher contraceptive use rate (Caldwell, et al, 1999: 69). A fall in the crude death rate has been documented from 47 per thousand in the The paper does not argue that population pressure led to the 1920s to 13 in the 1980s and it reached 4.8 in 1998. Remarkabledevelopment of GR but examines the impact of the new agricultural achievement has been accomplished in containing infant mortalitytechnologies and demographic behaviour in the case of Bangladesh rate, which in 1993 stood at 84 per live birth and reduced to 57 byand India. With such view in mind, the paper seeks answer to the 1998, in the course of five years.question through qualitative method, using secondary information. IndiaAgriculture and Population: Bangladesh Like Bangladesh, India is also an agricultural country. Duringand India in Perspective the period from 1951 to 1975, India had to import a large amount of food grains from abroad since its own production was not capable ofBangladesh feeding its growing population. Although India introduced HYV seeds The economy of Bangladesh is primarily dependent on agricul- for wheat and rice in 1967, the overall food production scenarioture. About 84 per cent of the total population living in rural areas began changing from the decades since 1975. Since 1947, wheatand are directly or indirectly engaged in a wide range of agricultural production has risen by roughly ten-fold, rice production quadrupled,activities. Under pressure of economic burden arising from the grow- coarse cereal production has doubled and pulse production has risening foodgrain imports in an agricultural country, Bangladesh began by 75 percent. Since then domestic production exceededintroducing GR technologies, namely chemical fertilizers and mod- consumption and the country not only became food sufficient butern irrigation techniques in the early 1960s. Apart from the eco- also it started to export food grains. Presently, India is the world’snomic pressure, the land-man ratio decreased because of popula- second largest producer of rice and is tied with the US as the largesttion growth and there were no further possibility of bringing addi- producer of wheat. From economic point of view, this was a greattional land under cultivation. During the latter part of the 1960s shift from being a food importing country to a food exporter onethe country introduced HYV wheat and rice. Compared to other coun- which, transformed Indian agriculture into a market orientedtries, even India, Bangladesh was late in introducing GR technolo- production system from a traditional subsistence farming systemgies (Alauddin, 1991: 7). The area under HYV rice cultivation rose (Gill, et al. 1991: 60). But it should be remembered that self-significantly from 1.6 percent of total rice area in 1967-69 to nearly sufficiency in food production did not necessarily mean that people26 percent in 1982-84. By 1982-84, practically all the wheat area, were not left hungry.constituting 4 percent of the total cropped land, was under HYVcultivation. All this resulted in a 70 percent increase in rice produc- India’s population growth rate has been around 2 per cent pertion since the middle of 1970s (Bongaarts, 1996: 50). annum since 1951. It touched it’s peak value of 2.2 percent during 1961-71 and started declining in the succeeding decades. Alongside, In Bangladesh, during the last three decades, while GDP has contraceptive prevalence has risen substantially from 13 percent ofmore than doubled, so has the population. In 1989, Bangladesh married women using contraception in 1970 to 41 percent in 1993had 11.88 persons on per hectare of arable land (ibid: 50). Bangladesh (Adlakha, 1997).Fertility Survey (BFS) of 1975 confirmed that fertility was high and 43 44
  3. 3. CORRELATIONS BETWEEN GREEN REVOLUTION ASIAN AFFAIRSThe debate and hunger. However, Lipton and Longhurst (1989: 5) argue, The fertility rate is dependent on many socio-economic factors,which will be analysed later on in the article. Apart from those factors, There have been massive rises in yields of staple food crop eaten,the demand for children is affected by human emotional and grown and worked mainly by poor people. There have beenbiological needs, which does not take the economic impact of positive effects on employment and on the availability,childbirth into account, but an analysis of such type of demand is cheapness and security of food. Yet there have been only delayed, scanty and sometimes faltering and imperceptible improvementsbeyond the scope of the paper. in the lot of the poor. In most developing countries, even those with major ‘Green Revolution’ areas and significant growth in There are two divergent views concerning the correlation between food output per person at national level, the proportion of peopleagricultural development and demographic change or in particular who have moved out of poverty in the dynamic areas has beenfertility. Malthus (1798) argued that the scope for food production almost balanced by the proportion that has become poor,to outpace population growth was small, the extra food and income especially in rural areas which – because their crops or soil-would increase population and labour supply per efficiency unit of water regimes appeared less amenable to research – have beenland. This would wipe out the gains made through higher yields as little affected by MVs (modern seed varieties).the food availability per person would be depressed along with wagerates, would reduce average claim on food (Lipton, 1989: 2). Finally, Thus, contrary to the vision of its founders, the GR has turnedfurther population growth would have “positive checks” through into an instrument which marginalized millions of poor people invarious kinds of disasters. However, the neo-Malthusians argue that the Third World countries. Between 1970 and 1980, in Punjab, aagricultural development through GR technologies would increase quarter of small land holdings declined due to their economic non-food supply to a considerable level and there would not be the “posi- viability (Shiva, 1991: 60).tive checks” because in the long run “demographic transition” wouldtake place through HYV induced reduction of human fertility. They Cuffaro (2001: 87) argues that one of the causes for the demandviewed that during the initial phase of GR induced higher income for GR was “a general effort at industrialisation – through importperiod, poor people would not only lower the mortality rate but also substitution policies – in the newly independent states required lowwould increase fertility. However, the situation would change in 10 food prices for farm workers through increasing domestic foodto 20 years, in the second generation, when fertility would be re- production.” According to the argument, the new technologiesduced to a point to offset the reduction in mortality rates (Vosti, et seemed to have been introduced primarily to provide food for theal, 1994: 2-3). urban working class, not for the benefit of the rural people. Therefore, governmental policies have been blamed for artificially lowering the Thus, the neo-Malthusians thought that the rising yields would price of the food grains. From the farmer’s point of view, althoughinduce socio-economic changes to reduce mass poverty as well as higher yields were achieved, failure of value addition to the netfertility. Therefore it is important to discuss the socio-economic produce was not attained at the same time (Lipton & Longhurst,changes caused by the new agricultural technologies. 1989: 28). Such a policy had disastrous effects on farm income. On the one hand, farmers had to pay higher prices for the inputs (asSocio-Economic impact of the Green Revolution government subsidies have been reduced) but received lower returns As it has been discussed earlier that the GR has certainly from the sale of outputs. Although such pricing policies made foodincreased the per-capita food grain production in Bangladesh and affordable to the poor, who had to spend 80 percent of their income,India. It has been seen as a development approach to reduce poverty for the farmers the returns were not promising. However, the paradox 45 46
  4. 4. CORRELATIONS BETWEEN GREEN REVOLUTION ASIAN AFFAIRSis that the poor peoples purchasing power did not increase at the c. poor had to rely on the non-institutional sources of creditsame time (Lipton & Longhurst, 1989: 13). with higher interest rates. Case studies done on selected villages in Bangladesh and India According to Hayami and Otsuka (1994), “The Green Revolutionhave shown that the increased production in cases have resulted in … has lost momentum all over Asia in the 1990s, as technologythe increase in the number of the landless peasants through potential based on conventional breeding method has largely beenmarginalizing the small landowners. They ascribe the causes on the exhausted”. In India, even as early as in 1971, per hectare inputs offailure of the planners to alter the tightly concentrated distribution irrigation, drainage, fertilizer and pesticide for a typical area costof economic power, especially access to land and purchasing power. Indian Rupees (Rs.) 1125, when the national per capita income wasA major World Bank study conducted in 1986 concluded that a Rs. 600. In the area studied by Bhagavan et al (1973: 5), a smallrapid increase in food production did not necessarily result in farmer having two hectares of land could afford to spend only Rs.lessening hunger. The study reached the conclusion that 350 on his inputs. In another study, comparing the yield between“redistributing purchasing power and resources toward those who HYV and LV of wheat, Dasgupta (1980: 166) has shown that HYVare undernourished” can only alleviate hunger. In a nutshell-if the wheat was capable of producing one unit of output at a lower cost.poor don’t have the money to buy food, increased production is not But the picture is hazy for other crops. In recent years, several studiesgoing to help them. The point has also been stressed by Sen (1986) have shown that HYV yield has declined and to keep up productionin his famous study into food production and entitlement to food. the farmers have to use higher amounts of inputs. Such increase inLipton and Longhurst (1989) have tried to show that although the the amount of the input puts the issue of the sustainability of theThird World poor has benefited from the GR, in the long run they small farmers under question, let alone profiting from farmingwere losing out even in maintaining such gains. Such failure on the practices. In addition there is the environmental hazardpart of the visionaries of the GR resulted in widening the disparity accompanying these high-input-dependent HYVs.between the rich and the poor. Such inequality created enormoustensions on the social fabric of both in Bangladesh and India. As discussed earlier, agricultural scientists of GR are somewhatHowever, Lipton et al (1989) tends to blame the socio-economic concentrated with the development of HYV cereals. Such obsessionresultant policy biases, rather than on the features of GR technologies with cereal monoculture has made the harvest more vulnerable toitself. diseases and pests, even more than the LVs. Poor farmers who cannot afford chemical protection from them become exposed to greater A study on South India conducted by Queen Elizabeth House, risks.Oxford shows that during the decade of 1983-1994, inequalitieswidened between the assets and land owned by small cultivators In the case of Bangladesh, in the early 1990s, the situationand landless agricultural labourers, and those of large scale worsened with the government’s decision to reduce and in cases tofarming households. There are signs that such inequality is persist- withdraw, subsidies on agricultural inputs - such as fertiliser,ing and even multiplying. Such inequality has resulted in pesticides etc. Previously, such inputs were highly subsidised. Such a move worsened the economic conditions of the small farmers who a. the increase in agricultural labourers than landowning had very little savings and had to rely on credit from different non- farmers or cultivators. institutional sources. b. wealthier propertied classes had better access to credit from Access to credit plays a major role in the case of a natural disaster institutional sources. prone Bangladesh and India. Although a large number of 47 48
  5. 5. CORRELATIONS BETWEEN GREEN REVOLUTION ASIAN AFFAIRSnon-governmental micro credit organisations are working in both which has taken place both in the case of Bangladesh and India. Inthe countries, evidences suggest that a large number of poor families 1997, expectation of life at birth in Bangladesh was calculated to beare still dependent on non-NGO-higher-interest-charging credit 58 years (Cladwell et al, 1999: 67). Life expectancy at birth stood atsources. 65 years in 1992 from 23 years in 1931 (Chandrasekhar, 1996: 17). Dramatic increases in population growth have occurred as theThe interplay between the socio-economic impacts increase in life expectancy has been supplemented with the decreaseof Green Revolution and fertility pattern in infant mortality rate. Although there are other factors involved for the change in fertil-ity patterns, the paper concentrates on the GR induced changes in Decrease in infant mortality rate: Decrease in infant mortality ratethe rural areas. At this juncture, the paper attempts to focus on suggests the improvement in the access to better healthcare and avarious socio-cultural changes caused by GR and their impact on corresponding rise the awareness in health and safety measuresdemographic change, using both theoretical and empirical informa- along with higher income and improved nutritional levels achievedtion. by GR technologies. Goyal (1990: 197) notes, “Living standard of the household is an important determinant of the infant mortality. Improvement in nutritional intake: In Bangladesh, it has been es- It is associated with the living conditions, economic well being etc.,timated that during the period between 1975-76 and 1981-82, the which directly influence the morbidity and mortality patterns of thepercentage of households having less than the prescribed minimum children. People with lower living standard are likely to experiencecalorie intake of 2122 kilocalories increased from 59 to 76 (Alauddin, higher infant deaths than the persons of higher living standard.” Inet al, 1991: 2). Similarly, a comparison of 1960 and 1995 shows an 1997, the infant mortality rate in Bangladesh stood at 82 perincrease of 42 percent of more protein intakes in Indian diet. Such thousand live births and 73 in the case of India (Cladwell et al,growth in nutritional intake affects fertility behaviour because of 1999: 67).biomedical reasons. Easterlin (1980) has suggested that biologicalfertility increases as the supply of nutrition increases among very It is certain that the total population increases if the decrease inpoor people. It brings earlier menarche, later menopause and re- infant mortality is not matched by reduced life expectancy level,duces the risk of miscarriage or stillbirth. Moreover, improved nu- which is the case for both Bangladesh and India. At the same time,tritional intake opens up the previously blocked reproductive ca- studies have found that high levels of child mortality raises fertilitypacity, which might have been shut because of the caloric input level, by inducing parents to have more than their desired number(s)below the ‘critical’ level. with the apprehension that some of them would not make it to adulthood as well as to replace the lost children. Dreze et al. (2001) Improved nutritional intake can also lower the “demand curve” have shown that if the probability of a newborn child reachingfor children by reducing child mortality and producing healthier adulthood is 0.75 then a couple who wants the risk of ending upchildren. Thus, planting assurance on the minds of parents against without an adult son to be lower than 0.05 has to give birth to threerisking more childbirth. Parents may be influenced in relying more sons, which would require six birth on average. The extra threeon the future potential of the off-spring instead of mere number, in births are caused by ‘son preference’ in South Asia. On the otherother words quality over quantity. hand, higher fertility rate, through frequent pregnancies, can raise child mortality rate. Increase in life expectancy: The increase in the life expectancyrate is closely related with the higher agricultural yield induced Impact of education: In recent years, there has been an increaseimprovement in income level and subsequent nutritional intake in literacy rate both in Bangladesh and India. In a rural agricultural 49 50
  6. 6. CORRELATIONS BETWEEN GREEN REVOLUTION ASIAN AFFAIRSsociety, a family’s decision to send the children to school depend on literacy rate, in both the sexes, also play an important role in delayingseveral factors; the family has to be solvent enough to spend extra marriage and limiting population on the child’s education and willing to bear the burden ofpotential income loss from the child’s labour. For the parents, the Demand for labour: One of the maladies of GR has been thebenefits stand out to be better old-age security from the child’s marginalisation of the small farmers by turning them into muchincome and in many cases, the desire to move away from farming smaller units. Over generations, due to inheritance laws, farms arepractice to other professions. getting fragmented both in Bangladesh and India. Thus, small farms constitute a large part in the rural production system in both the In Bangladesh, during the period 1973-86, the number of school countries. As farm size becomes smaller, the dependents try toincreased by 70 percent and the number of girls attending school substitute the loss with higher inputs of manual labour. Agriculturalincreased by 61 percent (Cladwell, et al, 1999: 72). Higher education census from Bangladesh support the argument that the smallestleads to lower fertility and decreases infant mortality rates. The farms will put in more labour per crop, and wherever possible grewincrease in the literacy rate, particularly among women, works to more labour intensive crops, regardless of land quality (Booth &reduce the family size for a number of reasons. They range from Sundrum, 1984: 113). In addition, Sen (1962), using data from Indianreducing infant and child mortality, higher knowledge of and access Farm Management Surveys drew attention to the general tendencyto contraceptive measures - thereby, having greater autonomy in for per hectare labour input and output to decline as holding sizedefining fertility goals to enhance receptiveness to modern social decreased. Cuffaro (2001: 104) ascribes two reasons for the highernorms, reducing dependence on sons for social status or old age labour input in small and of course, the higher opportunity cost for educatedwoman. A survey in 1992-93, have found that 6 per cent of illiterate One involves a hypothesis concerning the use of family-ratherwoman in India have no knowledge of contraception, compared with than wage-labour: family farms would employ labour to the pointless than 0.5 per cent of women with high school education (Dreze of equalisation between the market wage and the average, rather& Murthi, 2001: 35). The rate of contraceptive use is high amongst than marginal product. With decreasing returns to labour thisthe educated class and the effect of family planning programmes implies that more labour is applied to production in small farmsactivities in creating the awareness about contraceptive use should even if they operate with the same technique as large farms. Thenot be underestimated. Dreze & Murthi (2001: 33) have noted, “the second explanation is based on the idea that the price of labour is higher for large farms. Reasons include costs linked to moralfertility decline in Bangladesh has been successful, allegedly by hazard problems (e.g. supervision costs) and costs that familyplacing more emphasis on vigorous family planning programme than labour faces in the rural labour market (e.g. transportation costs).on social development.” This statement partly explains the recentrate of fertility decline which does not correspond with the country’s Studies on small farms in Bangladesh have shown a steep declineliteracy rate (i.e. the decline in fertility is more rapid than the growth in farm size with the increase in population. Higher yields in thein literacy rate). small farms size, made possible by GR technologies, and with lower Field level data from India shows that with the rise in female labour input during harvesting season makes the maintenance ofeducational level, the proportion of eligible couples experiencing higher levels of labour throughout the year (Cladwell et al., 1999:infant mortality shows a declining trend. However, the trend is not 73).very constant, having fluctuations on the basis of educational levels(Goyal, 1990: 194). The effect of such decline of infant mortality rate Unlike many countries, GR technologies in most parts ofover population growth has been discussed earlier. Increase in the Bangladesh has not undergone mechanisation, obviously due to the 51 52
  7. 7. CORRELATIONS BETWEEN GREEN REVOLUTION ASIAN AFFAIRSlack of capital (Alauddin & Tisdell, 1989). Thus in many large farms contraception is seen as a sin in many rural areas. In Bangladesh,the mechanisation process is substituted by human labour. the situation is further complicated by the practice of polygamy amongst the poorest section of the society. Vosti et al (1994: 6) argues that GR technologies raise the demandfor unskilled and young labour. Thereby, creating an incentive for Lack of effective insurance measures: Cain (1981) has done anthe impoverished section of the rural agricultural society to increase interesting study on the impact of the absence of proper insurancepopulation. But this argument might work to decrease population measures on fertility behaviour. According to him, individuals,also, in the case of women, who comprise a significant portion of depending on their economic position, undertake various insurancelabour (both domestic and wage) in Bangladesh and India, increased measures to avert risks, to insure against the interruption of normallabour demand would discourage frequent pregnancies. Moreover, income streams and to provide for consumption when suchin the long run, the excessive supply of labour force would undermine interruptions occur. In the event of the failure of the risk aversionthe real wage rate resulting in a fall in population growth pattern. measures, the small farmer may, as a last resort, be forced to sellEvidences from India, which has registered a fall in the real labour land. Another method of risk aversion/diffusion is to have morewage, support the argument (ibid). children who would provide income to the family by their labour (in times of need). Thus, having a larger family might be interpreted as However, attempts to calculate population growth only through higher supply of labour and better income during volatile periods.the analysis of labour supply and demand might be misleading. Therefore, the value of children might be higher in harsherWomen constitute a major portion of domestic labour supply in most environments. In such cases, families prefer sons over daughters,of the small farms but in most of the cases their contribution to the for the higher contribution potential of the son. Such ‘son preference’labour force remain unaccounted. leads to the increase in population. Apart from the gains from child labour, children act as an old- Greater access to contraceptives: The adaptation of contraceptive age security measure, with the parents’ apprehension that themethods and other family planning methods played a major role in children would succeed their uneconomic farmstead and supportlimiting the population growth both in Bangladesh and India. Gov- their parents in their old age. However, the opportunity cost of childernmental initiative in reducing population growth, coupled with rearing might put the family into hardship.socio-economic changes played a major role in the increased supplyand use of contraceptives. In the case of Bangladesh, since 1973 Opportunity cost of child rearing: The effect of income on fertilitythis programme has been largely supported by international coop- is determined by the family’s perception of children, whether theyeration (Cladwell, et al 1999: 69). However, the findings of an analy- are viewed as an economic burden or a productive asset. Rearingsis by the Bangladesh Population Reference Bureau in 1998 seems children as well as giving birth to them interferes with the family’sto have undermined the impact of the improvement in the levels of activities. It can make it difficult for the mother to work for a sub-economic development, urbanisation, employment of women or edu- stantial period of time, and the income the mother has to forego is acation “for a family planning programme to succeed” and placing cost to the family. Moreover, the cost of child’s food and other es-the whole credit to sustained political commitment pursued at the sentials take further toll on the family’s income. This limits parent’shighest levels of government (Ibid: 68). social activities and other consumption. Becker et al (1974) and Schultz (1981) suggests that increased income and better living stan- Although there is little room to doubt the impact of contracep- dards induced by higher yields using HYV seeds would act as deter-tives in reducing fertility, its usage has somewhat been limited due rence against fertility growth as it would subsequently increase theto religious factors. Despite various governmental efforts, the use of 53 54
  8. 8. CORRELATIONS BETWEEN GREEN REVOLUTION ASIAN AFFAIRScost of child rearing. A family, thinking from an economic point of Table: 1: Population Growth, Crude Birth, Death Rates & Sexview, might decide on the childbirth, if the income potential of the Ratio in India, 1961-2001unborn is thought to offset the rearing cost of the child. Followingthis argument, most families would decide for less but skilled and Population Percentage Average Crude Year Crude Sex Ratiohealthier children. (in million) Decadal annual Birth Death (Female variation exponen- Rate Rate per 1000 This is, however, mainly a theoretical debate, which has little tial growth males)relevance in the case of Bangladesh and India, where the decision rate (percent)on childbirth is dependent on many other socio-economic factors. 1961 439.2 21.51 (+) 1.95 41.7 22.8 941 1971 548.2 24.80 (+) 2.20 41.2 19.0 930Concluding Remarks 1981 683.3 24.66 (+) 2.22 37.2 15.0 934 According to Malthus’ theory of demographic behaviour, 1991 846.4 23.85 (+) 2.14 32.5 11.4 927 2001 1027.0 21.34 (+) 1.93 24.8 8.9 933population increases when the average income reaches above thesubsistence level of real income, and declines when income falls Source: Registrar General, India – Census figures, available from http://below it (Booth & Sundrum, 1984: 60). However, there are about the definition of subsistence. However, thedemographic transition witnessed in Bangladesh and India seem to As discussed earlier, GR has been viewed as a solution to therefute Malthus’ theory. problems of poverty, hunger and population growth. However, it has been criticised to provide too much of a technical solution to Contrary to Malthus’ theory, studies done by Vosti, et al (1994: the highly complicated social problems. Roughly three decades after56-57) show a proportional decline in fertility rate with the above- the introduction of GR technologies, its success in eliminating oraverage growth in real wages. Clearly in the case of Bangladesh and reducing poverty remain questionable. The question of controllingIndia, although the total population has increased between the 1960s population growth is closely related to the improvements made inand the 1990s, the population growth rate has recorded a decline. other socio-economic factors, not solely resultant of GR inducedMost population projection reports predict of further decline in the changes. The analysis presented in the paper documents the relevantgrowth level. During the initial period of GR, population growth rate socio-economic changes necessary for the decline in populationincreased mainly because of biological reasons. However, this growth growth rates in Bangladesh and India.rate plummeted with the subsequent improvement of socio-economicconditions. All such improvement was not necessary solely resultant However, it should be noted that the explanations forof the GR technologies. Statistical data collected over times since demographic changes presented here done on general basis andthe 1960s correspond with the observation made by Vosti, et al (1994) based on governmental statistics and field works done byand show a decline in population growth rate in the case of both independent researchers. The growth rate varies between regionsBangladesh and India. depending on spatial socio-economic environment of that particular region. However, the argument of reduced population growth rate does not seem to answer the argument regarding the need for another GR, this time through genetic modification of the seeds, to tackle the problem of feeding the growing world population. 55 56
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