Posted by: DCox | April 23, 2009

The Green Revolution and Sustainability

wheat-indiaThese recent articles from the NPR website (bottom of page) look at the potential collapse of high grain yields in India that resulted from the “Green Revolution”. The Green Revolution is a package of agricultural practices that includes pesticides, multiple fertilizer applications, high requirement for water, and improved varieties of grains (wheat, rice, corn, etc.) Grain yields in the U.S., India, the Philippines, and many other countries more than doubled as these improved varieties were paired with the aforementioned production practices. This really was a revolution and Dr. Norman Borlaug received the Nobel Prize in 1970 for this work.

However, Wendell Berry reminds us that many of these practices are unsustainable. They impose an artificial environment upon agriculture rather that working within the natural realm of ecological processes.

I’m not a Luddite (opponent of technological progress), but it’s in our nature to take technologies to their extreme – often to our own detriment.

From All Things Considered, April 13, 2009 · Farmers in the village of Chotia Khurd in northern India don’t realize it, but they symbolize a growing problem that could become a global crisis.

They gathered on a recent morning in a stone-paved courtyard — a circle of Sikhs with brightly colored turbans and big, bushy beards — to explain why the famed “bread basket” of India is heading toward collapse.

Their comparatively small region, Punjab, grows far more wheat and rice for India than any other region. But now these farmers are running out of groundwater.

They have to buy three times as much fertilizer as they did 30 years ago to grow the same amount of crops. They blitz their crops with pesticides, but insects have become so resistant that they still often destroy large portions of crops.

The state’s agriculture “has become unsustainable and nonprofitable,” according to a recent report by the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology. Some experts say the decline could happen rapidly, over the next decade or so….

Read more:
India’s Farming ‘Revolution’ Heading For Collapse
‘Green Revolution’ Trapping India’s Farmers In Debt


  1. India being an agricultural country.. the developments in the field of agriculture is needed- green revolution can be one example! And it will work and last too…


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