Sample Environmental Studies Paper on Green Revolution and Food Security

The Green revolution is also known as the Third Agricultural Revolution, which began in 1965 and involved the use of several technologies in agriculture to improve the yield (Harwood, 2019)). There are several characteristics associated with the Revolution, which helped in shaping agricultural practices in India. One of the main features is the introduction of new and high yielding seed varieties that would help ensure more food generation for India’s country. Secondly, the Revolution aided in increasing the use of pesticides and weedicides to reduce agricultural losses and preserve the nutritional aspect of the food grown. Thirdly, the Revolution led to an increase in the use of fertilizers in the farming process, which helped increase the plants’ productivity and output (Singha, 2017)). The fourth characteristic involves using disease-resistant seeds and crops, which would continue to grow and produce food despite the harsh climate. Lastly, this era involved the use of the latest agricultural machinery in the food production process. Some of the machinery used included harvesters, tractors, threshers, and seed drills. The techniques developed during this period were instigated by the perception that the country needed food production strategies that would sustain the large group of people irrespective of weather changes.

Benefits of the Green Revolution

There are several advantages associated with the Green Revolution. First of all, using these techniques allowed the agricultural sector to produce more massive amounts of food than when using traditional methods.  The use of the machinery was essential in reducing the amount of time farmers took to plant, harvest, and till the land in between the seasons, while the fertilizers helped ensure that the plants produced more (Singha, 2017). Additionally, the strategies employed made it possible to prevent the loss of productivity due to frequent pest invasions. The second advantage of the Green Revolution is that it led to reduced food prices, which meant that even the lower-class economy individuals could afford to acquire the food they need. Since the agricultural markets are run based on demand and supply, when the agricultural fields’ yields are more consistent, then the supply is more available. With an increased amount, there is less demand for food, making it more accessible to consumers. In turn, this causes the farmers and sellers to lower their prices when in the market place.

Thirdly, the techniques used helped in hastening the natural evolutionary process for plant resistance. The seeds and plants developed in this era were created to have a higher resistance to genetic disease than earlier ones. As a result, there was greater access to healthier food and plentiful choices since the farmers no longer needed to depend on the appropriate climate to plant the crops. It also ensured that the crops would be available all-year-round. The fourth benefit if the Green Revolution is that it allowed the agricultural sector to grow plants anywhere on the planet, especially in areas where the climate and soils do not provide favorable conditions for plant growth.

The Green Revolution resulted in the croplands producing multiple harvests every year. The practices established during the Revolution helped in ensuring that the farms could produce four to five harvest periods depending on the plant. With increased harvest, people would have access to more food at lower prices since they would not need to hoard the produce out of fear of not having enough of a certain kind of vegetable and fruit (Davis et al., 2019). The tactics also ensured that even if the growing season started later than usual, the crops would still yield substantial food for the farmer. The sixth benefit involves reducing regular fallowing, as was required with the traditional farming methods. It also encouraged the use of the chemical agents and fertilizers to increase the crops’ productivity without the need for continual rotation. Therefore, the farmers can choose to plant on the entire farm, ensuring higher crop yield.

The seventh benefit of the Revolution is that it helped reduce the poverty levels wherever it was practiced. With the substantial increase in food production, the countries practicing these agricultural techniques were able to ensure that a more significant portion of the population could access healthy food. Additionally, it helped increase the export market value, which helped inject more money into the economy and helped people get jobs while earning an income (Davis et al., 2019). Lastly, better agricultural practices support the flourishing of other sectors in the economy. Since having ample supply to food is crucial for productivity in any job, having adequate food supply for everyone in the country ensures that people have the energy to work and be productive in the various industries, especially those dependent on physical labor.

Harms of the Green Revolution

Despite the benefits and technological advances associated with the Green Revolution, some disadvantages are linked to the process. One of the harms caused by these agricultural techniques is that it led to the overdependence on a particular type of crops, which can be wiped out should a devastating disease occur that directly affects that specific plant. The farmers choose to depend on the same plants year-in and year-out to ensure that they maintain their profit margins, which places them in a vulnerable position if a disease attacks that species (Swaminathan, 2017). Secondly, the Green Revolution techniques’ constant use created a lack of biodiversity in the cropland structures. Since the plants are being continually exposed to pesticides, they also tend to be more susceptible to pathogens that cannot be controlled using the chemicals already on the market. As a result, the plants continue to lose their genetic traits due to the continuous altering process carried out to make them more resistant to harsh climates. The farmers no longer focus on panting the tastier and more nutritious brands because their main focus is to ensure high yields and better profit margins.

Thirdly, the repetitive growth of the same crops on the same land tends to lead to the depletion of essential nutrients in the soil. The more the ground loses these nutrients, the farmers are compelled to use more chemicals that can be harmful to the crops or move to other sections that can support their production. In looking for more land, the farmers tend to practice deforestation since the already used areas cannot support the changing agricultural biome caused by the constant use of the farm and chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers. The fourth disadvantage is that the use of these agricultural tactics leads to devastating health impacts. The chemicals used on the plants can get into the human system by using consumption or exposure when spraying the chemicals on the farm. Some of the diseases associated with these practices include leukemia, lymphoma, as well as breast and ovarian cancers.

The increased wastage and loss of food is the fifth harm caused by the Green Revolution. As food production increased substantially, the people did not have the necessary infrastructure and equipment need to preserve their harvest before transportation. As a result, more farmers lost food during the post-harvest phase (Singha, 2017). Additionally, with the reduction in prices, the customers would but an excessive amount of food and throw it out when not consumed in time. Another disadvantage is that due to the increased use of herbicides and pesticides on the plants, the pests are continually adapting to the chemical agents. In time, they will be resistant to their effects. Their resistance will require the development of extremely harmful chemicals to help farmers deal with them.

The seventh disadvantage is that the Green Revolution advocated and pioneered the practice of mono-cropping. This refers to growing the same crop on the same land, which is contrary to the traditional method of cultivation and land rotation. Mono-cropping has several problems associated with it in that it leads to the depletion of soil nutrients, deforestation, and the seepage of pesticides into the surrounding soil. The eighth disadvantage is that the success of the Green Revolution practices is heavily dependent on fertilizer subsidies. These subsidies tend to cost the government a lot of money, which could have been used to help other sectors, such as infrastructure. Additionally, the subsidies lead to the creation of wastelands, especially in instances where the proper authorities do not regulate the use of the fertilizers.

The ninth disadvantage is that the practice leads to inequality since the more substantial farmers are more likely to be favored for the government subsidies, due to their high yielding ability and the possibility of greater profits, once they sell their produce (Davis et al., 2019). On the other hand, the smaller farmers face discrimination and cannot access the financing they need to make their farms productive. Lastly, the Green Revolution strategies’ continuous use means that new technologies will always be a requirement in creating new seeds. Since the development process is an expensive endeavor, it can only be accomplished by large farming companies. Therefore, the profits yielded from these practices ultimately end up in the big companies’ pockets, instead of the smaller farmers who are putting in all the work.

Strategies to Improve Food Security

As defined by the United Nations’ Committee, food security refers to the notion that “all people, at all times, have social, economic and physical access to nutritious, sufficient and safe food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for a healthy and active life.” There are several challenges that the word is currently facing when it comes to achieving the goal of food security (Conway, 2019)). Some of the challenges include the increasing population, increasing soil erosion, climate change, slowing irrigation, and flattening yields. Therefore, several strategies must be put in place to help in dealing with the challenges.

The first strategy is the reduction of food waste. Statistics show that the amount of food wasted in the United States, China, and India would be enough to feed approximately 413 million people in the same year. It is up to the policymakers in these countries to ensure that rules can help prevent such waste, while other people in the same region go hungry or face malnutrition (Prosekov & Ivanova, 2018). Additionally, it would be beneficial to involve the big companies who process and sell food such as restaurants in the policy-making process, because it would help ensure that they are more cautious in their food preservation tactics.  Another strategy involves the raising of low water productivity. This involves improving the irrigation systems’ efficiency while also planting crops that require minimal amounts of water to survive. This is not a simple strategy to implement since farmers are more likely to plant crops that give them higher profits, regardless of how much water they need to grow. However, the government can intervene by offering economic incentives to the farmers who choose to plant crops that require less water instead of farmers that grow crops such as rice and sugarcane.

The third strategy involves the efficient use of fertilizers. It is important to regulate the kind of chemicals used in the creation of fertilizers. Additionally, farmers should receive constant training on the best way to use fertilizers regarding the types, timing, and placement of the products. Learning the right way to do all these things reduces the likelihood that the soil gets contaminated and exploited by harmful chemicals present in pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers (Davis et al., 2019). The fourth strategy involves crop diversification, which gives the farmers a wider choice in the product variety of crops in a particular area. It helps lessen the risk of crop loss and aids in ensuring that people have access to more food choices. Food choices are crucial in the 21st Century since the population suffers from more allergies and food preferences than ever before.

Conclusion

Food is a crucial part of human existence. Therefore, it is important that with the continuous changes in climate, food security should be a priority for the government and the people as well. The Green Revolution played an important role in creating techniques that have helped the world cope with food security challenges. However, as technology progresses, there is an increasing need to better the protocols, strategies, and techniques implemented in the 1950s to suit the needs and preferences of the 21st Century.

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Conway, G. (2019). The doubly Green Revolution: Food for all in the twenty-first Century. Cornell University Press.

Davis, K. F., Chhatre, A., Rao, N. D., Singh, D., Ghosh-Jerath, S., Mridul, A., … & DeFries, R. (2019). Assessing the sustainability of post-Green Revolution cereals in India. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences116(50), 25034-25041.

Harwood, J. (2019). Was the Green Revolution intended to maximize food production?. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability17(4), 312-325.

Prosekov, A. Y., & Ivanova, S. A. (2018). Food security: The challenge of the present. Geoforum91, 73-77.

Singha, S. (2017). THE GREEN REVOLUTION TECHNOLOGY AND ITS IMPACT IN THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC LIFE OF INDIA. AU-eJournal of Interdisciplinary Research (ISSN: 2408-1906)2(1).

Swaminathan, M. S. (2017). 50 Years of Green Revolution: An Anthology of Research Papers (Vol. 1). World Scientific Publishing Company.