Hyv (high-yielding variety) seeds are an improved version of conventional seeds. The introduction of hyv seeds took place to achieve maximum crop output. In the 1960s, when most of the developing nations were facing acute food shortages and population explosion, scientists invented hyv seeds to fulfill crucial needs of such countries. A few important characteristics of high-yielding variety seeds include higher crop yield, excessive use of fertilizers, early maturation, and reliance on irrigation among others. Though the seeds brought revolution in several economies, it crippled hectares of farmland following its negative impact on the soil and environment.
Positive effects of hyv seeds:
Hyv seeds boosted crop production and overall income in a country.
Shorter life span
Hyv seeds allow farmers to grow a crop multiple times a year. As it takes less time for crop maturity as compared to conventional seeds, hyv seeds are favorable for multiple cropping. While the traditional seeds of wheat or rice take 140 days to harvest, hyv seeds of wheat or rice take 110 days. Hence, it is a better option to earn extra profits and expand the overall farming income.
Hyv seeds require more labor per unit area as compared to traditional seeds. This led to the generation of employment in several developing countries, which fight for providing sufficient jobs to its labor force. Due to its shorter lifespan, farmers do not stay idle after harvesting but can grow crops twice in one monsoon season. Such opportunity keeps the farmers employed the entire year.
Hyv seeds invention lacked any change in the sowing manner, thus, proving a favorable factor for the uneducated farmers. A few changes in the sowing pattern include the lower temperature at 30 degrees compared to 35 degrees for conventional wheat seeds. For this, governments have made necessary provisions for the farmers which include weather forecasting updates. Thus, farmers from any socioeconomic background can employ the seeds and achieve benefits.
The large production following the hyv seeds usage gave additional numbers to the income of farmers in particular. Farmers, the poorest section in an economy, welcomed this invention and enriched themselves with surplus profits.
Negative effects of hyv seeds:
The hyv seeds pose a great threat to the environment and an individual’s normal life.
Lower water table
For better yields, hyv seeds require a good amount of water. Proper irrigation facilities in an area increase infrastructure expenses. In India, extended use of water after the employment of hyv seeds on the unsuitable land has lowered the water table in the northern region. The salinity of soil further exaggerated the problems regarding the poor growth of new crops on the same land.
No food security
Countries in mid-sixties brought hyv seeds to their farming sector in order to achieve food security, hunger eradication, malnourishment elimination, and better incomes and profits. While it succeeded in mass production but couldn’t fulfill long-term goals. The objective of everlasting food security is still a dream of the developing and poor nations.
Hyv seeds require huge fertilizers and pesticides usage. The extended use of chemicals has increased the risk of various health hazards. Recently, the survey held in the areas employing hyv seeds concluded high risk of cancer among the local population.
The hyv seeds arise problems for the farmers in the developing countries. As these farmers take huge loans to fulfill the primary demands, which include buying seeds, fertilizers, and other necessities to make the soil fertile enough. Expanded use of fertilizers and water places the burden on their already depressed budget. In case of a crop failure, they fell in debt-trap, a prime cause of suicide in rural areas.
The high yielding varieties of crops produce less fodder as compared to traditional crops. An outcome of hyv is salinity and infertile soil. These results put an extra burden on the farmers whose only source of income is farmland.
The high-yielding variety seeds brought revolution in the farming sector. It’s crucial role in sustaining the agriculture growth declined food grain imports in many developing countries. At the same time, today’s scenario clearly shows the defective decisions the governments of the 1960s took regarding the implementation of hyv seeds. In India, the application of these seeds has made the soil infertile in the northern parts, a rain-fed area. And the same story applies to the other regions of the world. To limit the impending drawbacks, the government must involve scientists to look for the loopholes in the technology and employ the seeds in the complementing region. Also, they must consider the appeals by the farmers and provide them the accessibility to loans and a compensation against crop failure. As a sufficient food is a basic right of every citizen, the government must undertake required measures and make certain provisions to fulfill this objective.