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Green revolution, in simplest terms, refers to the increased production of food crops in the second half of twentieth century and is credited with saving around a billion people from starvation. A number of technological, political and agricultural initiatives were part of this revolution. The increased food production was made possible by introduction of high-yielding crops, provision of better irrigation facilities, application of fertilizers & pesticides, and better agricultural and crop management.
Dr. Norman Borlaug is credited as the Father of Green Revolution. In South Asia, major efforts were carried out in India, to overcome severe famine conditions in 1960s. An improved variety of rice, complemented with fertilizers, yielded ten times the traditional yield. The adoption of high-yield rice have tripled the per hectare production and reduced the cost to one-third the price (over a period of 30 years) and turned India into a major rice producer.
Green revolution caused 208% and 109% increase in yield per hectare of wheat and rice in developing world, respectively. It has been estimated that in absence of green revolution, the food production in developing countries would have reduced by 20%, and world food prices would have rise by 35%-65%. Specifically for Southeast Asia, the food availability increased by 34%, even though the population increased by 68%. The rural income increased by 193% and the number of poor declined by 63%, between 1975 and 1995.
All of this could not have been possible without the Green Revolution and South and Southeast Asia would have faced large-scale famines and severe hardships for the population.
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