Magazine article New Internationalist

The Green Revolution

Magazine article New Internationalist

The Green Revolution

Article excerpt

In the 1960s and 1970s a wave of high-yielding seed varieties, chemical fertilizers and pesticides transformed Indian agriculture. This was the Green Revolution - but some say it is turning yellow. Initially, it boosted yields but it has brought problems in its wake. It has degraded soil leading to falling yields and a loss of local crops. Once the farmers in Warangal might have grown more drought-resistant varieties of millet and sorghum. Now even the marginal farmers are growing monocultures of commercial crops like cotton, chilli, rice and groundnut, in the hope of potential profit. Dependent on expensive inputs, the costs of farming have risen dramatically and left many poor farmers in debt.

Water-harvesting skills, so crucial to surviving the drought seasons, were lost as intensive, irrigated agriculture came in. Farmers borrowed thousands of rupees to sink bore wells for irrigation. …

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