The Green Revolution was the known period when there was a drastic increase in agricultural products’ productivity across the globe due to new advances in the field. The green revolution was/ has been caused by introducing chemical fertilizers, synthetic herbicides, and pesticides in agriculture. These chemicals made it possible for crops to be supplied with extra nutrients, thus increasing their yield.
Apart from the chemicals used to increase productivity, high-yield crops were also introduced in agriculture. It ensured a high yield in terms of produce. Multiple cropping was also introduced, whereby two or more crops were planted and harvested in a year. The techniques are also used by farmers globally. Therefore, it has resulted in the green revolution.
Pros of the green revolution
1. It has contributed to the production of more food: Due to the use of high-yielding crops, agricultural chemicals, and multiple cropping, the globe’s croplands have increased productivity. Production of more food has encouraged population growth globally, thus increasing the labor force in countries. According to research, the earth’s population is expected to be more than 12 billion by 2050. However, the green revolution is depended upon to enable the production of more food to cater to the hunger needs of the growing population.
2. It has reduced the food price: Farms have become more productive due to the green revolution hence producing more than was produced before. Croplands have also become more productive without increasing the number of acres needed for planting. The same amount of labor is also being used. The cost of production of food has therefore hardly increased. It is the likely reason the food price is lower than it used to be before the green revolution.
3. It has led to consistent high yields despite challenging conditions: Some crops such as wheat were introduced in Mexico during the green revolution to resist disease and were naturally short to reduce wind damage. More breeds of crops that could resist challenging times were later developed, giving consistent high yields every season.
4. It has led to the ability of plants to resist disease and pests: Numerous strains of plants that are resistant to diseases, infections, and pests have been created. It has happened due to genetic modification and improved techniques in farming. Therefore, people can access healthier food in plenty.
5. Crop lands are set anywhere despite the climate: Green revolution has made it possible for crops to be grown anywhere. It is due to the technology and techniques that have been adopted. For the first time, scientists grew and harvested plenty of food grown in greenhouses in Antarctica. Techniques used included LED lighting and vertical farming procedures. These techniques can counter the environmental conditions where the croplands need to be set.
6. It has contributed to the creation of employment opportunities: Due to the green revolution, the agricultural sector has employed more than 67 of the developing world’s population. It has relatively increased the ways of fighting poverty and the people’s livelihood. More food has increased the population, which has increased the workforce needed in the agricultural sector.
7. It has reduced the poverty levels in the developing nations: Green revolution has led to the use of modern technologies, which increase the yields in agriculture. It makes countries export their products, making them international food markets. The economy of such countries has relatively improved and reduced poverty levels due to the improvements that have been made. One such country is Thailand which has become a leading exporter of rice due to the green revolution.
8. Multiple yields can be produced and harvested in the same season: Multiple cropping is a technique that has been adopted due to the green revolution. It involves planting multiple crops around the same season/ year on croplands. Higher yields of the crops are harvested around the same time after maturity.
9. Harvest has become more predictable: Before the green revolution, the amount of harvest that farmers received always depended on the growing season’s quality. Harvest was not always predictable, especially when the season was poor. However, the green revolution has enabled consistent high yield production despite the season.
10. It has protected the environment: There is no longer a need to clear out forests to create more ground for crop growing to increase yields.
Cons of Green Revolution
1. It has led to wastage of food: Green revolution has increased food production. The food created is more than the one consumed. The leftover food is thus disposed of, leading to wastage.
2. It is costly to maintain the green revolution: It is expensive to manufacture and buy fertilizer for crops. Therefore, it has not been easy to use the technology adopted for the green revolution by every farmer since some don’t have the money to do so.
3. The use of chemicals and fertilizers can pollute the environment: Herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers can either cause pollution or erosion. Due to leaching, the chemicals can flow into water bodies and cause pollution.
4. It causes seed sterility: Genetic modification creates the terminator gene in seeds. This gene prevents seeds from growing, thus forcing farmers to buy new seeds continually.
5. It changes the quality of the land: Green revolution causes farmers to use land thus depleting the soil nutrients and resources continually.
6. It creates resistance issues in food supply: Chemicals used by farmers are only effective when the chemicals are new. However, crop pests create resistance to these chemicals as time goes by, making them no longer useful.
7. It has advanced beyond our current distribution networks: It has been noted that the current transportation and distribution networks are unable to keep up with the pace of production of food. More food is thus wasted.
8. It harms our health: Exposure to the chemical agents used in farms causes the risk of getting cancer and other serious infections to humans.
9. It has created unfairness in completion among farmers: Some farmers cannot purchase chemicals and fertilizers used to produce healthy crops as they cannot afford them. It is in contrast to those who can afford it, which is quite unfair.
10. It has caused the extinction of some plants and insects in the ecosystem: The chemicals and fertilizers used by farmers can be harmful to plants and insects.