Green Revolution Farming System

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Green Revolution Farming System

The Green Revolution was a transformative 20th-century agricultural project that utilized plant genetics, modern irrigation systems, and chemical fertilizers and pesticides to increase food production and reduce poverty and hunger in developing countries. The Green Revolution began in Mexico, where scientists developed a hybrid wheat variety that dramatically expanded yields. Following its introduction, hunger and malnutrition there dropped significantly. The model was subsequently extended to Asia, Latin America, and later Africa to increase food production for growing populations without consuming significantly more land.

The Green Revolution transformed rural economies using industrial food production systems already widespread in wealthy western countries, but with new plant varieties. In the 1940s, an Iowa-born agronomist named Norman Borlaug began working with Mexican scientists on a more disease-resistant, high-yield wheat. Many Mexican farmers at the time struggled with depleted soil, plant pathogens, and low yields. The scientists developed smaller, fast-growing wheat that required less land to produce more grain. It had a dramatic effect: Between 1940 and the mid-1960s, Mexico achieved agricultural self-sufficiency.

The results were heralded as an agricultural miracle, and the techniques were extended to other crops and regions grappling with food insecurity. By the 1960s, India and Pakistan were experiencing population booms and food shortages that threatened millions with starvation. The countries adopted the Mexican wheat program and the new varieties flourished, with harvests increasing considerably by the late 1960s. Rice, a staple crop for millions, was another target. Research in the Philippines dramatically improved rice productivity and the new varieties and techniques spread across Asia. China undertook its own rice research and application of Green Revolution techniques on a massive scale to feed its growing population. Between the 1970s and 1990s, rice and wheat yields in Asia increased 50%. The poverty rate halved and nutrition improved even as the population more than doubled.

However, over time, the techniques and policies of the Green Revolution were questioned as they led to inequality and environmental degradation. The Green Revolution relied heavily on chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which led to soil degradation and water