Green Revolution is a term used for the agricultural revolution which was brought in 1960s, which increased the production of food grains four-five times in the northwestern part of India. After this revolution, Indian almost became self-reliant in food grains.
The Green Revolution substantially improved the conditions of the farmers of the northwestern India. The farmers who, before the Green Revolution, were struggling to make both ends meet they started living luxuries life after the Green Revolution. The Green Revolution gave a face-lift to the northwestern India, at the same time it helped in satisfying the appetite of the millions.
Soon after Independence in 1947, India had begun to seek food aid and in fact emerged as the biggest food importer of this century. It was first in 1951 that India got an ad hoc assistance of two million tones of food grains to tide over the crisis arising from severe drought in several parts of the century. Before 1947, India history was replete with famines, drought and food shortages. After the British and created a transport infrastructure in the first half of the nineteenth century, they began encouraging farmers to grow crops, which could be exported. The boom in export trade accompanied by rising prices made farmers shift to cash crops like cotton, indigo, poppy and sugarcane.
In the first half of the 20th century, India’s foreign trade showed the same colonial pattern with exports mainly comprising food grains, cotton, jute, oilseeds, opium and indigo. A big gap between minimum requirement and supply had continued throughout the post-war period. Till the 1960s, Indian agriculture was not sufficiently able to meet domestic requirements and the country had to rely on food grain imports. The first five-year Plan, following food imports in 1951, gave maximum importance to the growth of agriculture. Among the measures initiated in the fifties to stimulate food grain production, were land reforms, irrigation, fertilizer production, strengthening of research and organization of a national farm extension service. Consequently, the increased harvests in the mid-1950s relived the economy. It was almost at the same time that the government adopted the US Land Grant model of agricultural research, and agricultural universities-beginning with the Gobind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology at Pantnagar in Uttar Pradesh-were gradually set up in all the states. The Land Grant model entailed linking research with extension, taking research from the laboratories to the farms through an extension network linked with the university. In 1961, the government launched the Intensive Agriculture District Programme (IADP) to enhance productivity in the irrigated areas.
The missing link was provided by Dr. Norman Borlaug, who was then working with CIMMYT in Mexico. A few dwarf where strains of spring wheat that Dr Borlaug sent to the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) in New Delhi looked impressive. In the next two to three years, a wide rage of dwarf material was tested under the All India Wheat Research Project. And in August 1964, the then Professor and Head of the Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics at the IARI, Dr. M S Swaminathan, who later emerged as the architect of India’s Green Revolution, proposed launching a National Demonstration Programme. Under the project, new varieties were demonstrated in farmers’ fields, both to verify the results obtained in research plots and to introduce farmers to new opportunities.
Says Swaminathan, “When small farmers, who with the help of scientists organized the National Demonstration Programme, harvested over five tones of wheat per hectare, its impact on the minds of other farmers was electric. The calmour for seeds began and the area under high yielding varieties rose from four hectare in 1963-64 to over four million hectare in 1971-72. a small government programme became a mass movement. “Subsequently, the Government imported 18,000 tonnes of semi-dwarf wheat from Mexico in 1966 to be distributed in time for immediate sowing by farmers in the northwestern regions.
The seeds of Green Revolution were, therefore, truly sown in the mid-60s. What followed next is already part of the contemporary history. Wheat production rose to 17 million tones in 1968, an increase of five million tones over the highest of 12 million tones harvested in 1964. In July 1968, the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, officially recorded the impressive strides in agriculture by releasing a special stamp entitled “wheat Revolution.” The success of wheat was later replicated in rice. And at the same time productivity increases were recorded in cotton sugarcane, millets and in oilseeds.