Green revolution has been a blessing until recent years when the negative impact of these technologies has emerged. This paper discusses the concept of green revolution, its benefits and risks of this technology.
Food security has been an issue of concern in many of the developing countries. In fact it can be said that the problems related to food security have been a major cause of concern to mankind. In the past the food needs of growing populations were met especially by expanding the cultivated area. There were farming communities that cultivated in a particular place for few years and then later abandon the land for several years. However, as the most fertile land became scarce, researchers and agriculturists found that expansion of agricultural land for increasing production was not a good option for the future years. Further expansion meant bringing poorer and lower yielding land into cultivation. Hence it was found in 1960s that the present levels of production cannot sustain the population and maintaining food production per capita was a challenging task (Evenson, N.D).
The Green Revolution came as a boon to mankind and was a major turning point in agriculture. It helped to increase the food production predominantly by getting better strains of wheat, rice, maize and other cereals in the 1960s. The revolution as such began in 1945 when the Rockefeller Foundation and the Mexican government established the Cooperative Wheat Research and Production Program to improve the agricultural output. Dr Norman Borlaug is the father of green revolution and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for developing this technology (Parks, N.D.).
Green revolution is the breeding of new plant varieties and the application of modern agricultural techniques such as use of chemical fertilizers, irrigation, use of heavy machinery and control of pests and diseases using synthetic pesticides. Probably without the use of Green Revolution technologies the basic food requirements of the world's current population would not have been possible. This technology is responsible for saving almost a billion human lives from starvation (Easterbrook, 1997). Green revolution technologies along with its gains also brought about several economic and ecological problems. Food security being one of the most important issues concerning mankind, the further increase in food production should be addressed with caution in the coming years.
Benefits of Green Revolution
The adoption of HYVs occurred quickly because farmers and researchers found a good yield from these varieties when compared to the traditional varieties. By 1970, about 20 percent of the wheat area and 30 percent of the rice area in developing countries were planted with the HYVs, and by 1990, the share had increased to about 70 percent for both crops which produced good yield. In fact it can be said that the basic yields of rice and wheat almost doubled. For instance, Mexico a country that adopted green revolution went from having to import half its wheat to self-sufficiency by 1956 and, by 1964, to exporting half a million tons of