WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2012: Green Revolution
Green Revolution began in the 1960s—it was technological change of
agricultural practices in South countries. There was a focus on food crops of
global importance—rice, corn, and wheat etc. It was initiated to growing
concerns about increasing populations, concerns about famines (particularly
in India) and food shortages. It was initiated by the USA because it was in a
Cold War context—the USA wanted southern countries fed so they wouldn’t
revert to communism.
Research centers were established for specific food crops– International Rice
Research Institute in the Philippines in 1960 was the first. Another one in
Mexico focused on wheat and maize. They would look into pest
management, production systems, irrigation, etc. Their focus was to increase
yields, because with more crops they could stave off famine and malnutrition.
There are now 16 CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agriculture
Research) research centers around the world focusing on different crops.
o The model was transfer of technology approach—the new technologies
were established by scientists in these research centers and distributed
to farmers in development countries—a top down development
approach (from a lab farmers are given a finished product).
Green Revolution was:
The creation of high yield varieties, which were dwarf varieties which
had very small stalks—more energy of the plant goes into making the
wheat, not growing the stalk. These varieties work better with
fertilizers, they are less photosensitive (can grow in different seasons)
and they have shorter maturation times. Some are bred to be resistant
to certain pests and diseases.
It was a transformation of the entire agricultural system, because they
grow well under certain environmental conditions—they require
fertilizers, irrigation, they require pesticides, etc. They were
developing a smaller number of varieties that were able to grow in all
o Yield increased substantia