What is green revolution
Green Revolution [] refers to the transformation of agriculture that began in 1945, largely due to the life work of Norman Borlaug. One significant factor in this revolution was the Mexican government's request to establish an agricultural research station to develop more varieties of wheat that could be used to feed the rapidly growing population of the country.
In 1943, Mexico imported half its wheat, but by 1956, the Green Revolution had made Mexico self-sufficient; by 1964, Mexico exported half a million tons of wheat. The associated transformation has continued as the result of programs of agricultural research, extension, and infrastructural development. These programs were instigated and largely funded by the Rockefeller Foundation along with the Ford Foundation, and other major agencies.
The Green Revolution allowed food production to enable, or keep pace with worldwide population growth. The Green Revolution has had major social and ecological impacts, making it a popular topic of study among sociologists.
The term "Green Revolution" was first used in 1968 by former USAID director William Gaud, who noted the spread of the new technologies and said,
"These and other developments in the field of agriculture contain the makings of a new revolution. It is not a violent Red Revolution like that of the Soviets, nor is it a White Revolution like that of the Shah of Iran. I call it the Green Revolution."
Indian success []
With the experience of agricultural development begun in Mexico by Norman Borlaug in 1943 judged as a success, the Rockefeller Foundation sought to spread it to other nations. The Office of Special Studies in Mexico became an informal international research institution in 1959, and in 1963 it formally became CIMMYT, The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center.
In 1961 India was on the brink of mass famine. Borlaug was invited to India by the adviser to the Indian minister of agriculture M. S. Swaminathan. Despite bureaucratic hurdles imposed by India's grain monopolies, the Ford Foundation and Indian government collaborated to import wheat seed from CIMMYT. Punjab was selected by the Indian government to be the first site to try the new crops because of its reliable water supply and a history of agricultural success. India began its own Green Revolution program of plant breeding, irrigation development, and financing of agrochemicals.
India soon adopted IR8 - a semi-dwarf rice variety developed by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) that could produce more grains of rice per plant when grown with certain fertilizers and irrigation. In 1968, Indian agronomist S.K. De Datta published his findings that IR8 rice yielded about 5 tons per hectare with no fertilizer, and almost 10 tons per hectare under optimal conditions. This was 10 times the yield of traditional rice. IR8 was a success throughout Asia, and dubbed the "Miracle Rice". IR8 was also developed into Semi-dwarf IR36.
In the 1960s, rice yields in India were about two tons per hectare; by the mid-1990s, they had risen to six tons per hectare. In the 1970s, rice cost about $550 a ton; in 2001, it cost under $200 a ton. India became one of the world's most successful rice producers, and is now a major rice exporter, shipping nearly 4.5 million tons in 2006.
IR8 and the Philippines
In 1960, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines with Ford and Rockefeller Foundations established IRRI (International Rice Research Institute). A rice crossing between Dee-geo-woo-gen and Peta was done at IRRI in 1962. In 1966, one of the breeding lines became a new cultivar, IR8. IR8 required the use of fertilizers and pesticides, but produced substantially higher yields than the traditional cultivars. Annual rice production in the Philippines increased from 3.7 to 7.7 million tonnes in two decades. The switch to IR8 rice made the Philippines a rice exporter for the first time in the 20th century. But the heavy pesticide use reduced the number of fish and frog species found in rice paddies.
In 1970, foundation officials proposed a worldwide network of agricultural research centers under a permanent secretariat. This was further supported and developed by the World Bank; on May 19, 1971, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research was established, co-sponsored by the FAO, IFAD and UNDP. CGIAR, has added many research centers throughout the world.
CGIAR has responded, at least in part, to criticisms of Green Revolution methodologies. This began in the 1980s, and mainly was a result of pressure from donor organizations. Methods like Agroecosystem Analysis and Farming System Research have been adopted to gain a more holistic view of agriculture. Methods like Rapid Rural Appraisal and Participatory Rural Appraisal have been adopted to help scientists understand the problems faced by farmers and even give farmers a role in the development process.
Problems in Africa
There have been numerous attempts to introduce the successful concepts from the Mexican and Indian projects into Africa. These programs have generally been less successful, for a number of reasons. Reasons cited include widespread corruption, insecurity, a lack of infrastructure, and a general lack of will on the part of the governments. Yet environmental factors, such as the availability of water for irrigation, the high diversity in slope and soil types in one given area are also reasons why the Green Revolution is not so successful in Africa.
A recent program in western Africa is attempting to introduce a new high-yield variety of rice known as "New Rice for Africa"(NERICA). NERICAs yield about 30% more rice under normal conditions, and can double yields with small amounts of fertilizer and very basic irrigation. However the program has been beset by problems getting the rice into the hands of farmers, and to date the only success has been in Guinea where it currently accounts for 16% of rice cultivation.
 Plant Technologies of the Green Revolution
The crops developed during the Green Revolution were high yield varieties - meaning they were domesticated plants bred specifically to respond to fertilizers and produce an increased amount of grain per acre planted. The terms often used with these plants that make them successful are harvest index, photosynthate allocation, and insensitivity to day length. The harvest index refers to the above ground weight of the plant. During the Green Revolution, plants that had the largest seeds were selected to create the most production possible. After selectively breeding these plants, they evolved to all have the characteristic of larger seeds. These larger seeds then created more grain yield and a heavier above ground weight.
This larger above ground weight then led to an increased photosynthate allocation. By maximizing the seed or food portion of the plant, it was able to use photosynthesis more efficiently because the Energy produced during this process went directly to the food portion of the plant.
Finally, by selectively breeding plants that were not sensitive to day length, researchers like Borlaug were able to double a crop’s production because the plants were not limited to certain areas of the globe based solely on the amount of light available to them.
 Impacts of the Green Revolution
Since fertilizers are largely what made the Green Revolution possible, they forever changed agricultural practices because the high yield varieties developed during this time cannot grow successfully without the help of Fertilizers. Irrigation also played a large role in the Green Revolution and this forever changed the areas where various crops can be grown. For instance before the Green Revolution, agriculture was severely limited to areas with a significant amount of rainfall, but by using irrigation, water can be stored and sent to drier areas, putting more land into agricultural production - thus increasing nationwide crop yields.
In addition, the development of high yield varieties meant that only a few species of say, rice started being grown. In India for example there were about 30,000 rice varieties prior to the Green Revolution, today there are around ten - all the most productive types. By having this increased crop homogeneity though the types were more prone to disease and pests because there were not enough varieties to fight them off. In order to protect these few varieties then, pesticide use grew as well.
Finally, the use of Green Revolution technologies exponentially increased the amount of food production worldwide. Places like India and China that once feared famine have not experienced it since implementing the use of IR8 rice and other food varieties.
 Criticism of the Green Revolution
Along with the benefits gained from the Green Revolution, there have been several criticisms. The first is that the increased amount of food production has led to overpopulation worldwide.The second major criticism is that places like Africa have not significantly benefited from the Green Revolution. The major problems surrounding the use of these technologies here though are a lack of infrastructure, governmental corruption, and insecurity in nations.
Despite these criticisms though, the Green Revolution has forever changed the way agriculture is conducted worldwide, benefiting the people of many nations in need of increased food production.