What is the Green Revolution and what are its significance?

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Green Revolution owes its origin in the findings of new dwarf variety of wheat seed by Dr. Norman Earnest Borlaug. He was in charge of Wheat Development Programme in Mexico in 1950s and was the genetic architect of the dwarf wheat. Although the seeds of Green Revolution were sown in Mexico during 1950s, but the term Green Revolution was first used in USA. In India, the seeds of Green Revolution were first tested in drought year of 1964-65 and it was introduced to the Indian scientists by Dr. Borlaug in 1963.

He also predicted that India could double her wheat production in one decade. Consequently India received 100 kg of seeds of dwarf and semi dwarf varieties and these seeds were planted in different soils in Delhi, Ludhiana, Pusa, and Kanpur, which yielded 4000 kg of wheat per hectare that was four times the yields of local varieties. Since the mid 1960s, the traditional agricultural practices being replaced by modern technology and farm practices in India.

Initially the new technology was tried as a pilot project in seven districts and called Intensive Agricultural District programme. Later the High Yielding Varieties Programme was also added to cover the entire country. This strategy has been called by various names i.e. modern agricultural technology, seed-fertilizer-water technology or Green Revolution.

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The technological changes in Indian agriculture which started in 1960s as Green Revolution, introduced access to modern inputs, especially high yielding variety of seeds, fertilizers, mechanization, credit, and improved marketing access. New High yielding varieties of wheat developed in Mexico and of rice developed in Philippines were also brought to India. In addition to high yielding variety seeds, chemicals fertilizers and pesticides were also introduced and irrigation facilities improved and expended.

The introduction of irrigation facilities also became inevitable to support high yielding varieties seeds and since then the irrigation potential of the country has vastly increased which had led to increased agricultural production particularly when used in combination with chemical fertilizers and high yielding variety of seeds. Use of fertilizers was an integral part of the Green Revolution, consequently production and consumption of fertilizers has also increased.

However, the most remarkable achievement of the Green Revolution is the substantial increase in production and productivity of food-grains. Cereals and millets also recorded highest growth of 197% but the production of pulses did not commensurate with the increase in population.

Even among cereals wheat registered more than six fold increase in production. Rice on the other hand recorded nearly three-fold increase in production. It is clear that the wheat has been the main beneficiary of the Green Revolution. But over all as a result of green revolution, there is increased home production of foodgrains and there is no import of food grain. With the increase in farm production the earnings of the farmers also have increased and have become prosperous particularly big farmers having more than 10 hectares of land.

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The green revolutions have also helped the farmers in raising their level of income. The farm mechanization brought by green revolution has created demand for different types of machines like tractors, harvesters, diesel engines, electric motors, pumping sets. Consequently industries producing these items progressed by leaps and bounds.

Several agricultural products are also used as raw materials in various industries; consequently green revolution has also helped to agro-based industries. With the introduction of green revolution, there was appreciable demand for labor force due to multiple cropping.

There is also change in attitude of farmers as the Indian farmers had been using the conventional methods of cultivation since the early times but green revolution has brought a basic change in this attitude towards farming and the desire for better farming methods and a better standard of living is growing not only among the relatively small farmers of well being but also among small marginal farmers.

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