Green revolution had long been hailed as a savior as it provided a way to combat loss of productivity in various crops. At the end of world war 2,one of the issues facing the world as a whole was the fact that population figures worldwide was rising exponentially and agriculture, as yet could not provide enough to feed everyone. As a result, several scientists stated working out a model by which they can make nations self-sufficient to grow crops, and even stockpile the same. This necessitated in the creation of the green revolution, during the 1960S and 1980s. Here’s to taking a closer look at some of the positive and negative effects of green revolution.
Positive effects of green revolution:
Increased productivity: One of the positive and immediate effects of green revolution was the increase in productivity by nearly 2.5 times. Several nations had suffered as a result of environmental degradation on account of various reasons and changing climate across the world. This necessitated the setting up of a workshop to help deal with the issue which resulted in the green revolution. As a result of several innovative techniques including cross breeding, GR was able to introduce resilient food grains which lead to better productivity
Stockpile: One of the effects of GR happens to be increased reliance in stockpiles and governments across the world investing in agricultural infrastructure. This was more of a necessity since earlier on; most farmers had little or no access to adequate infrastructure to store their excess production. But now, the same farmers can stockpile large scale food production under ambient and safe conditions.
Cost: While green revolution had little to do with the cost of food grains or produce, it nevertheless did have a beneficial effect as a whole as these same farmers could now store their excess produce safely and sell at a marked up price later on.
Negative effects of green revolution:
Some of the associated negative effects of green revolution are listed below
Pesticides and fertilizers: One of the side effects of increased productivity happens to be the increasing reliance on synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Farmers often resorted to excess use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers which resulted in the toxins affecting both the soil as well as the produce itself. Rather than depend on natural fertilizers, excess dependence on the synthetic variants often led to depleted nutrients in the soil as well impacting the environment.
Toxicity: Pesticides are toxic and some, more so than others; the issue though is that some of these pesticides are literally built to last and tend to do for years in the top soil, after usage. As a result, it can stay dormant on the top soil for years; affect higher organisms which in turn can have an impact on our health. This is one of the reasons why it is always advisable to wash all farm produce before cooking the same. There are various cases pending against some of the food companies for excessive usage of pesticides.
Lack of diversity: On the flip side, the green revolution just focused on a few select crops, from wheat to rice. The idea was to focus on crops that were utilized worldwide so as to provide the populace with essential food grains. As a result only a select few crops were studies and subjected to green revolution and with increased productivity this had led to a lack of diversity in food crops worldwide.
Topsoil: One of the innovative ideas of green revolution was mono cropping; mono cropping did lead to being able to harvest larger amount of crops within a short time period. The problem though is that the use of heavy equipment for mono cropping lead to soil compaction which often prevented the fertilizers from spreading downwards. Furthermore, frequent mono cropping led to lack of essential nutrients in the top soil, which resulted in less productivity.
These are some of the positive and negative effects of green revolution; and while green revolution does provide us with some great advantages in the short term, it still needs to be evaluated and studied further to protect our crops. While several companies have utilized green revolution tech to ramp up their production of several crops, namely Mexico – they have also set up inter-ministerial group to study the impact of current technology on local crops. The group has been set up to study the short term and long term impact of relying on green revolution.