Agriculture Revolutions in India

Green Revolution It is the introduction of new techniques of agriculture which became popular by the name of the Green Revolution (GR) around the world in early 1960’s – at first for wheat and by the next decade for rice, too, it revolutionized the very traditional idea of food production by giving a boost by more than 250 percent to the productivity level. The Green Revolution was centered around the use of the high yielding variety ( HYV) of seeds developed by the US agro scientist Norman Borlaug doing research on a British Rockefeller foundation scholarship in Mexico by the early 1960s . The new wheat seeds which he developed claimed to increase its productivity by more than 200 percent. By 1965, the seeds were successfully tested and were being used by farmers in food deficient countries such as Mexico, Taiwan. Components of the Green Revolution The Green Revolution was based on the timely and adequate supply of many inputs / components. The HYV seeds They were popularly called the dwarf variety of seeds. With the help of repeated mutation, Mr. Borlaug was able to develop a seed, in which nutrients would be supplied less to the leaves & stem making the plant dwarf and more nutrients would flow to the grains resulting in high yield. These seeds were non-photosynthetic, hence non-dependent on sun rays for targeted yields. Chemical Fertilizers The seeds could increase productivity provided they got sufficient levels of nutrients from the land. The level of nutrients they required could not be supplied with the traditional manures because they have low concentration of nutrients. That is why a high concentration fertilizer was required which could be given to the targeted seed only. The only option was chemical fertilizers. Irrigation For controlled growth of crops and adequate dilution of fertilizer, a controlled means of water supply was required. It made two important compulsions- firstly the area of such crops should be at least free of flooding and secondly, artificial water supply should be developed Chemical pesticides and germicides As the new seeds were new and non- acclimatized to local pests, germs and diseases than the established indigenous varieties, use of pesticides and germicides became compulsory for result oriented and secured yields. Chemical Herbicides and weedicides To prevent costly inputs of fertilizers not being consumed by the herb and the weeds in the farmlands, herbicides and weedicides were used while sowing the HYV seeds Credit, storage, marketing/ distribution For farmers to be capable of using the new and the costlier inputs of the Green Revolution, availability of easy and cheaper credit was a must. As the farmlands suitable for this new kind of farming were region specific (Haryana, Punjab and western Uttar Pradesh in India) storage of the harvested crops had to be done in the region itself till they were distributed throughout the country. Again, the countries which went for the green revolution were food – deficient and needed the new yield to be distributed throughout the country and a proper chain of marketing, distribution and transport connectivity was necessary. These entire peripheral infrastructures were developed by the countries going for the green revolution with softer loans coming from the World Bank – India being the biggest beneficiary. Impact of the Green Revolution The Green revolution had its positive as well as negative socio- economic and ecological impacts on the countries around the world. We will study the impacts pertaining to India: Socio- economic Impact: (i) Food production increased.(wheat in 1960s and rice, by 1970s). India not only became self – sufficient in food production but later turned into a food exporting country. It gave a boost to the production of cereals. There has been an increase in production of cash crops too. There is improvement in oilseeds, potatoes, cotton etc. But there is no significant increase in production of jute. It caused a change in the cropping pattern in favour of wheat and rice putting pulses, oilseeds, coarse cereals (maize, barley, Rapi, Jowar) on the margins and their production increased. Area under pulses has remained stagnant. (ii)It increased the income of the farmers and increased their standard of living. (iii) It increased the inequality between the large farmers (who benefitted more) and the small farm- ers. It also increased the inequality among the states too. The gap between the already progressive states of Punjab and Haryana and Bihar & West Bengal increased. (iv) It caused migration from these poor states to the northwestern states. Ecological Impact The most devastating negative impact of the Green Revolution was the ecological one. The major ones may be glanced in their chronological order. (a) Soil degradation and decrease in fertility due to the repetitive kind of cropping pattern being followed by the farmers(monoculture), intensive agriculture, increased salinization of the soil due to excessive irrigation and deterioration of NPK ratio of the soil because of excessive use of urea. (b) Water table falling down as the new HYV seeds required comparatively very high amount of water for irrigation (c)Eutrophication: It is the process in which a water body becomes overly enriched with nutrients, leading to plentiful growth of simple plant life. The excessive growth (or bloom) of algae and plankton in a water body are indicators of this process. Eutrophication is considered to be a serious environmental concern since it often results in the deterioration of water quality and the depletion of dissolved oxygen in water bodies. Eutrophic waters can eventually become “dead zones” that are incapable of supporting life. (d)Toxic Level in food chain (BioMagnification): Toxic level in the food chain of India has increased to such a high level that nothing produced in India is fit for human consumption. Basically, excessive use of chemical pesticides, fertilizers and weedicides has polluted the land, water and air to such an alarmingly high level that the whole food chain has been a prey of high toxicity. Second Green Revolution Use of all ecofriendly means in cultivation is the Second Green Revolution (SGR) or evergreen revolution or sustainable agriculture. For experts it includes agricultural practices such as, 1. Replacing chemical fertilizer and Pesticides by bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides respectively. 2. Conserving water, 3. Balanced cropping pattern, 4. Proper crop combinations etc. Second Green Revolution in India The second green Revolution in India is a concept as well the name of a programme. It was suggested as an idea of sustainable agriculture in mid- 1990s by the agro- scientists as the ongoing GR was not based on sustainable agricultural practices. When the Indian president, Dr. Kalam suggested the same, he attached much wider meaning to it. For him it consisted of crop management, cost education, value addition, processing and marketing. In 2004, the government of India announced a major agricultural programme named the second green revolution with an initial fund location of Rs 50,000crore. This programme was so exhaustive that it had hardly left any problem area of Indian agriculture untouched and had every potential of solving all long-standing problems. In a sense it was a complete agricultural policy based on the concept of sustainable development and well-equipped to fight the challenges posed by the WTO and capable enough to make Indian agriculture to emerge as a winner in the globalizing economy. As there was a government change at the centre, the complete details of the programmes were not made available. The present government at the centre has not been referring to these programmes, but in practice it looks like promoting the same causes more vigorously. Summing up the Second Green Revolution If we add up the different announcements by the governments time to time and the propositions of experts, we may sum up the idea of the second green revolution in India with the help of the following parameters: 1. Increasing Agricultural production: Unlike the green revolution which was limited to only five food grains (wheat , rice, jowarbajra, maize) , the second green revolution includes all agricultural products – cereals , cash crops, animal husbandry (dairy, goatry ,piggery, poultry, etc.) fisheries, sericulture , etc. It is rightly called the rainbow revolution. Initiation of sustainable practices in agriculture is a very important parameter of sustainable agriculture. One very important point should be noted here that India cannot afford to go for only green farming or organic farming in the name of sustainable agricultural development As the replacement of chemical inputs by the organic ones has every chance of reducing production and with use of costlier inputs, the product of such farming will not be economically accessible by the poor population of India. That is why cost cutting is an integral part of this revolution. And that is why agro scientists have suggested basing our agriculture on biotechnology. Use of biotechnology in agriculture does not only open new dimensions for it but has every potential to cut costs of the agricultural productsby doing miraculous and unthinkable kinds of research and development. India is very much aware of this reality that without an active support of biotechnology, sustainable agricultural development is not possible. 2. Strengthening the infrastructural & Institutional Aspects (a)We need to strengthen the credit delivery aspects for the agriculture sector- both at the micro and macro levels (for corporate farming). (b)The storage facility for agricultural products in India is among the weakest in the world. India does not have adequate capacity for godowns and cold storage. A beginning has been made recently by the railways with the initiation of the refrigerated station wagons. Basically, private sector participation is considered very vital for the growth of this segment. (c)The country lacks a suitable kind of transport connectivity. Rural connectivity programmes are today the high priority areas for the government. (d)The irrigation preparedness of India needs a grassroots level approach. Focus should be on micro irrigation than on flood irrigation. It becomes especially important once the climate has started showing its vagaries more and more in recent times. (e)We need to restructure and strengthen agricultural marketing right from the grassroots level to the national level. Only then can we internationalize (globalize) our agriculture sector. Impact of Climate Change on Agriculture: Increased vulnerability: With increasing global warming and consequent changes in climate has made indigenous populations and local communities dependent on agricultural or coastal livelihoods, very vulnerable to the climate impacts. India particularly vulnerable: India, with its diverse agro-climatic settings, is one of the most vulnerable countries. Its agriculture ecosystem, distinguished by high monsoon dependence and with 85% small and marginal landholdings is highly sensitive to weather abnormalities. Direct impact on agriculture: Research is also confirming an escalation in heat waves which will affect crops, aquatic systems and livestock. Impact on Income: The Economic Survey 2017-18 has estimated farm income losses between 15% and 18% on average, which could rise to 20%-25% for unirrigated areas without any policy interventions. These projections underline the need for strategic change in dealing with climate change in agriculture. Solution/Steps Needed At micro level: The traditional wisdom, religious epics and various age-old notions about weather variations still guide farmers’ responses, which could be less effective. Corroborating these with climate assessments and effective extension and promoting climate resilient technologies will enhance their pragmatism. Management practices: Climate exposure can be reduced through agronomic management practices such as inter and multiple cropping and crop-rotation; shift to non-farm activities; insurance covers; up-scaling techniques such as solar pumps, drip irrigation and sprinklers. Several studies indicate increasing perceptions of the magnitude of climate change and the need for farmers to adapt. Increasing awareness: The NSS 70th round indicates that a very small segment of agricultural households utilised crop insurance due to a lack of sufficient awareness and knowledge. Hence there is an urgent need to educate farmers, reorient Krishi Vigyan Kendras and other grass root organizations with specific and more funds about climate change and risk coping measures. At macro level: Though programmes of the government document the likely consequences of climate change, they lack systematic adaptation planning and resource conservation practices. Mainstreaming adaptation into the policy apparatus has the potential to improve the resilience of several development outcomes. Other key interventions: Expansion of extension facilities, improving irrigation efficiency, promotion of satellite-enabled agriculture risk management, creating micro-level agro-advisories and providing customised real time data are some initiatives towards building greater resilience in agriculture. National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) It is one of the eight Missions outlined under National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC). Its aim is to promote sustainable agriculture through improved crop seeds, livestock and fish cultures, Water Use Efficiency, Pest Management, Improved Farm Practices, Nutrient Management, Agricultural insurance, Credit support, Markets, Access to Information and Livelihood diversification. The NMSA launched in 2011-12 aims at enhancing food security and protection of resources such as lands, water biodiversity and genetic resources by developing strategies to make Indian agriculture more resilient to climate change. Indian agriculture, with two–third rain fed areas remains vulnerable to various vagaries of monsoon, besides facing occurrence of drought and flood in many parts of the country. Natural calamities such as drought and flood occur frequently in many parts of the country. Climate change will aggravate these risks and may considerably affect food security through direct and indirect effects on crops, soils, livestock, fisheries and pests. Building climate resilience, therefore, is critical. Potential adaptation strategies to deal with the adverse impacts of climate change are: (a) Developing varieties tolerant to heat, moisture and salinity stresses (b) Modifying crop management practice & improving water management (c) Adopting new farm practices such as resources conserving technologies (d) Crop diversification (e) Making available timely weather- based advisories (f) Crop insurance (g) Harnessing the indigenous technical knowledge of the farmers National Initiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) The mega project has three major objectives of Strategic research, technology demonstrations and capacity building. Its aims to make farmers self-reliant by use of climate resilient agricultural technologies and management of natural and manmade resources for sustaining agriculture in the era of climate change. Horticulture Revolution Fruits and vegetables give 4-10 times the return from other crops namely cereals, pulses and oilseeds. Diversification towards horticultural crops is the most powerful factor in raising the growth rate of agriculture GDP. Due to the changes in taste, preferences and food habits, the consumption pattern in India has been shifting towards fruits and vegetables and the per capita intake of fruits and vegetables will keep rising in coming years. Such changes are also happening globally. Moreover, there is a large deficiency of these items in Indian diet. All these indicators suggest that demand side prospects for fruits and vegetables are very bright. However, the area under fruits and vegetables in the country has remained below 10%, despite favorable demand side factors. Even with 1/10 share in the area, fruits & vegetables contribute more than one fourth of earnings from the crop sector in the country. Highly elastic demand (when a product’s or service’s demanded quantity changes by a greater percentage than changes in price.)for fruits and vegetables, preference of consumers for fresh farm produce and new e-commerce offer vast scope for increase in production of fruits and vegetables and farmers’ income in the country. The major constraint however is marketing. This is reflected in very high growth of 20% in horticultural imports, large price gap between producers and end users, high level of post-harvest losses, frequent and often violent price fluctuations, low level of processing, and very low post harvest value addition. The main constraint to expand production of fruits and vegetables is the system of marketing and inadequate processing facilities. Horticultural crops, particularly vegetables, are more popular with smaller size land holdings as they have advantage in terms of family labour required for labour intensive production. However, such farmers are severely constrained by scale factor in marketing of produce. In most cases a horticultural crop does not come to maturity at the same time and harvestable produce is distributed over a span of a few weeks. Being perishable, these crops cannot be stored at home to make economical lot for taking to market. This further lowers the scale of marketable lot of farmers. The standard mode of disposal of marketable surplus is sale in nearby mandis which is subject to APMC rules and regulations. This requires production to pass through a long market channel which involves payment of approved and unapproved taxes, market charges, and margins to a large number of intermediaries. Recently some states have brought perishable fruits and vegetables out of purview of APMC Act, but it has made difference only to a small quantity of produce. The practice of marketing, required by market regulation, has prevented application of e-commerce in fruits and vegetables and kept producers and consumers apart. Market regulations constrain online purchases from the farmers/producers which can be of immense benefit to producers as well as consumers. White Revolution in India offers interesting lessons for harnessing its horticulture potential. Milk and horticulture have a lot of similarities. Both are high value, perishable, labour intensive, and income augmenting enterprises. Very stable and robust growth in milk production is attributable mainly to three market factors, namely, institution of milk cooperatives, complete freedom to milk producers and buyers for sale/purchase of milk throughout the country and de- regulation of the dairy sector. With similar market conditions, India can achieve horticulture revolution in a much shorter period than White Revolution. We need simple measures for this 1. Take fruits and vegetables out of APMC Act and make their sale and purchase completely free. This will allow setting up vegetable/fruit collection centers by local entrepreneurs, like milk collection centres, where farmers can sell even a few kg of their produce. In some cases integrators will start pooling the produce for marketing, like informal milk vendors in the countryside. They can make economic lots and sell the produce in a market, or they can have direct contact with vendors or other buyers in towns, cities and various consuming centres. This will also encourage the private sector to go for contract farming. Many innovative vegetable & fruit sellers in urban areas will be attracted to develop back-end linkage to get direct supply from the producers. India has waited for development of the modern value chain in horticulture for a long time, but this has not been happening due to legal hurdles and restrictions on free and direct marketing. 2. Horticulture producer’s companies or associations of various types, like dairy cooperatives, can also help farmers in marketing their produce without involvement of a long chain of market intermediaries. Some progress has been made in this area in the last two years and there are some impressive success stories. 3. As delicensing of dairy in 1991 and the amendments in Milk and Milk Product Order in 2002 attracted large investments in milk marketing and processing, free marketing of horticultural produce will attract a lot of investments in horticultural processing and value chains. Demand side factors and technology are highly favorable for horticulture revolution at small farms. What is needed is policy support for market liberalization, producer’s organizations and processing. These require action both by the states and the Central govt. The onus for freeing market for horticultural produce rests with the states while support of Central government is crucial for promoting producers’ organizations (e.g., Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC)) and fruits and vegetable processing. Growth in Horticulture in the recent past India is the second largest producer of horticulture crops, just behind China. The horticulture boom is spread across the country, and not limited to the erstwhile food grains-based green revolution states like Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh. Another positive for horticulture is that since fruits and vegetables are mostly grown by marginal and small farmers, the resource-poor farmers are likely to have benefited most from the growth in the horticulture sector. And this sector has thrived even without a minimum support price (MSP) to cushion it. Apart from these, there have been efforts to increase production of fertilizers, fisheries…etc. They have helped in poverty alleviation and in attaining food security by: 1. Reducing the incidence of famine which pushes people into poverty. 2. Increasing the availability of food grains and thus ensuring affordability and accessibility of food. 3. Poor spend most of their money on food. poor from subsistence agriculture to surplus based farming thus improving incomes. 4. Created additional employment opportunities with animal husbandry scope for 5. Gave scope for food processing industry which can give poor nonfarm jobs India cannot be complacent with these achievements as we still have to work on pulses production, nutrition¬al security…etc. As Swaminathan suggested we should move towards evergreen revolution in agriculture by combining traditional knowledge with technological awareness. Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions in India Black Revolution: To increase petroleum production, the Government planned to accelerate the production of ethanol and to mix it up with petrol to produce biodiesel. Ethanol is a renewable source of energy and is a by-product of sugar production produced from molasses. The blending of ethanol with petrol has been practised in the USA and Brazil for over 70 years. The blending of ethanol with transport fuels would provide better returns to farmers, supplement scare resources of hydrocarbons and environment-friendly by reducing pollutants as it helps combustion. Pink Revolution: The boom of export and production of meat in India is the period of the Pink Revolution. It denotes the technological revolution in the poultry and meat processing sector. Know more about this revolution on the page linked. Grey Revolution: Grey revolution is related to increased fertilizer production. It is basically associated with the mal effects of the green revolution of India focusing on what can happen if the new agricultural equipment turns things wrong. White Revolution: Verghese Kurien, the Father of the White Revolution was a social entrepreneur. His “billion-litre idea”, Operation Flood made India the world’s largest milk producer and dairy farming India’s largest self-sustaining industry. Details on operation flood and White Revolution in India can be found on the linked page. Operation Greens: On the lines of Operation Flood, the Government of India launched Operation Greens seeking to mirror the success of milk in the White Revolution for fruits and vegetables of the nation with a major focus on Tomato, onion and potato – TOP Crops. The scheme operation Greens was launched in the Union budget 2018-2019. Detailed information on Operation Greens can be found on the linked page. Yellow Revolution: In the Yellow Revolution, rising from the ‘net importer’ state, India achieved the status of a self-sufficient and net exporter. An all-time record of 25 million tonnes of oilseeds production from annual oilseed crops was attained during the early nineties. More detail on the Yellow Revolution is given on the page linked here. Green Revolution: The early 1960s was the phase of the Green revolution in India. It led to an increase in higher-yielding varieties of seeds due to improved agronomic technology. It allowed the then developing country, India, to overcome poor agricultural productivity. Detailed information on the Green Revolution can be checked here. Silver Revolution: The production of eggs was tremendously increased during the Silver Revolution phase. The increased production of eggs was made possible due to medical science and more protein-rich food for the hens. Golden Revolution: The period between 1991 to 2003 is known as the period of the Golden Revolution. This made India a world leader in the production of bananas, mangoes, etc. and provided sustainable livelihood and nutrition options. Know the period of the Golden Revolution in detail. Brown Revolution: This revolution focuses on meeting the demand for coffee from the developed nations by growing socially responsible and environment-friendly coffee. The Brown Revolution is related to Visakhapatnam’s tribal areas. Blue Revolution: Blue revolution made the emergence of aquaculture an important and highly productive agricultural activity. Know about the Blue Revolution in detail. Golden Fiber Revolution: Golden Fibre Revolution in India is related to jute production. During the industrial revolution, jute started being used as a raw material in the fabric industry and until today, the processed jute is used for making strong threads and jute products. Know more on Golden Fibre Revolution in the link provided.

Leave a Reply