Between the years 1960 and 1980, in the United States, the concept of green revolution began to be used to define the increase in agricultural production that was taking place in the country and that, later, would spread to other countries in the world. The cause of this revolution was the agronomist Norman Borlaug, who began to investigate with species of rice, wheat and corn to obtain more productive varieties, since the low production of traditional crops were not able to satisfy the food demand of a population that It kept growing.
What is the green revolution, its characteristics and its objective
What is the green revolution and how does it come about ? When did the green revolution start? Here we begin by clarifying all these doubts.
The green revolution is based on the set of technical improvements in agriculture , this was launched from the 60s with the aim of tackling malnutrition, derived from the demographic increase. The need for this revolution is due to the fact that traditional agriculture was not capable of providing an answer to satisfy food needs. Ultimately, the main purpose or objective was to eradicate hunger and malnutrition . Another objective, related to the one we have already mentioned, was to increase the volume of food per hectare, as well as the generation of more than one harvest in the same territory throughout the year.
The characteristics of the green revolution are:
- The plants used were wheat, corn and rice.
- The sowing was carried out with seeds developed in laboratories, to achieve a better performance of them. The improvement of these species was achieved by making selective crosses until the species were more productive and resistant.
- The plants that were obtained aesthetically differed from those of the traditional cultivation and grew at a higher speed, in addition they were more resistant to adverse climatic conditions.
- Each species was cultivated in a certain field throughout the year.
- When sowing the grains it is necessary to apply large amounts of water.
- The use of large amounts of fertilizers and pesticides to ensure better production.
- Agricultural activity is dependent on oil since it is necessary to use lubricants and fuels for the operation of the machinery used.
It could be said that, in general, the fundamental pillars of the green revolution are irrigation systems to guarantee the supply of water, the modernization of machinery, agrochemicals and biotechnology .
When the green revolution arose, it brought with it several benefits, as sought. These are the main benefits of the green revolution :
- The amount of harvest per cultivated hectare increased.
- For this reason, it was possible that a greater quantity of food could be obtained on the same land.
- Therefore, malnutrition could be reduced in the poorest countries.
- Selective crosses make more resistant seeds are obtained, crosses made in rice, corn and wheat made the crops of these grains stronger against frost and pests, so the harvests increased by 50%.
In addition to benefits, there are also disadvantages of the green revolution , such as:
- The use of fertilizers and pesticides, such as neonicotinoids , necessary for the production of these crops have a strong environmental impact, reducing the quality of the soil.
- To maintain these crops, large amounts of water are needed, so it is difficult to grow crops in areas where there is a shortage of this resource and, in addition, it is a type of agriculture that depends on oil and its derivatives necessary for the use of the machinery and transportation of the harvest.
- There is contamination of underground water bodies by the agrochemicals or pesticides used, as well as salinization and the destruction or degradation of the soil .
- Increase in deforestation in order to obtain more land for intensive cultivation and as a consequence loss of biodiversity.
- High-yield cereal crops at a nutritional level are of low quality, showing deficiencies in essential amino acids and an imbalance in the content of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, among other factors that determine nutritional quality.
- Its objective was to eradicate hunger in the world, however, people still die from hunger in underdeveloped countries.
It is evident that the advantages of the green revolution have great weight and a large part of the population can feed themselves thanks to these crops, however the consequences they have on the environment can become irreversible, the remedy being worse than the disease. Ways must be found to eliminate the negative effects of the green revolution and the only way to do that is to opt for a more sustainable and environmentally friendly farming model .