The major increase in the crop yield occurred between 1960 and 1980. This general increase in crop yields, which occurred in our country during the period between 1960 and 1980, is referred to as the Golden Era or the Green Revolution.
The Green Revolution marked on turning point in the Indian agriculture. As a result of the Green Revolution, we have become self-sufficient in food. We have also been able to maintain a buffer stock of food grains which can be used in the times of natural calamities such as drought and floods when the crop production is low.
History of the Green Revolution in India
Now let us try to understand the various steps, which led to the Green Revolution. Prior to 1960, farmers in the country used to cultivate desi or traditional varieties of wheat and rice. These varieties had very low yield per hectare. In the period of 1950 and 1960, in order to increase the food production, the various agricultural inputs such as seeds, irrigation facilities, fertilizers and pesticides were systematically improved.
However, the improvement in the various agricultural input did not result in the corresponding increase in the food production. The traditional varieties of crops showed only a slight increase in yield in spite of the availability of water and fertilizers in the sufficient quantities. In other words, the desi varieties of crops did not respond well to the improved agricultural inputs such as water and fertilizers. As a result, we are not able to fulfill the requirements of our expanding population.
In the 1960’s a great event occurred which revolutionised the agricultural production in our country. In this period, a team of agricultural scientists led by Dr. Norman E. Borlaug introduced successfully some new yield varieties of wheat in Mexico. These high yielding varieties of wheat known as Mexican varieties were introduced in our country, on experimental basis, in a few selected districts. Since the yield of these varieties was very high as compared to the traditional verities, more and more area was brought under cultivation of these Mexican varieties.
Later on, our scientists developed new high yielding varieties were better suited to our climate and soil conditions, and hence yielded a record production of wheat. This marked beginning of the Green Revolution. Thus, introduction of the improved high yielding varieties of wheat was the major factor, which led to the Green Revolution.
The high yielding varieties need better inputs such as water, fertilizers, frequent weeding and continuous use of pesticides. Therefore, in order to get the best outputs from these high yielding varieties all these inputs were considerably improved.
Factors Leading to Green Revolution
Now let us summarize the various factors, which led to the Green Revolution or increase in the crop production:
1. Introduction of high yielding Mexican varieties, and the other varieties developed by crossbreeding desi varieties with the Mexican varieties.
2. Increase in use of fertilizers.
3. Bringing more and more area under assure irrigation by creating facilities such as construction of dams, setting of tube-wells and storing rain-water in big reservoirs and tanks.
4. More effective weed control by use of newly developed weedicides.
5. Extensive use of pesticides to control pests.
6. Use of machines and improved implements to perform various agricultural tasks.
7. Bringing more and more area under cultivation.
Achievements of the Green Revolution
1. As a result of the Green Revolution our country has become self-sufficient in food grains.
2. As a result of the Green Revolution we have been able to create buffer stocks of food grains which can be used in the event of natural calamities such as droughts and floods which result in fall in crop production.
3. The Green Revolution has changed the life style of our farmers. Due to higher crop yields, they are able to earn more money and hence can lead a better life.
4. As a result of the Green Revolution, the demand for various agricultural inputs has increased tremendously. This has created a large number of employment opportunities.
Negative Aspects of the Green Revolution
However, the Green Revolution has made us self-sufficient grain product but at the same time, it has created ecological imbalances. Some of the negative aspects of the Green Revolution are given below:
1. As a result of the Green Revolution, the soil has become fertilizer-dependent. Since the nutrient requirements of high yielding varieties are very high, the nutrient content of the soil has to be replenished after each cultivation.
2. The excessive use of fertilizers makes the soil alkaline or acidic depending upon the nature of the fertilizer used.
3. As a result of the Green Revolution, the pesticides and weedicides are being used extensively. This is due to the reason that high yielding varieties of crops are more prone to disease. Excessive use of these chemicals has adverse effect on the soil fertility and also on the health of human beings and animals.
4. The high yielding varieties of crops, which have resulted in the Green Revolution, need more water. In order to meet the water requirements of such crops the existing natural sources of water are artificially altered. This also results in ecological imbalances.
5. One of the factors leading to the Green Revolution is that more and more land is brought under cultivation. This has been done by clearing the forests. This has led to accelerated soil erosion. This is also affected ground-water sources.