When Was the Green Revolution?
The increase in agricultural production throughout the world since 1950 has been so great it has come to be known as the Green Revolution. World agricultural production in 1964 was one and a half times that of 1948. Much of this increase was due to the redistribution of land and to the grouping of small holdings into larger units.
Scientists have contributed new varieties of grass that provide better cover and strength, thus holding the soil in place. Advances have been made in the development of new kinds of plants capable of withstanding drought and maturing fast enough to avoid frost damage. Research has led to better production methods, fertilizers and pesticides.
The Green Revolution, or Third Agricultural Revolution, is a set of research and technology transfer initiatives that increased agricultural production worldwide, particularly in the developing world, beginning most markedly in the late 1960s. The initiatives resulted in the adoption of new technologies, including high-yielding varieties (HYVs) of cereals, especially dwarf wheats and rices, in association with chemical fertilizers and agro-chemicals, and with controlled water-supply (usually involving irrigation) and new methods of cultivation, including mechanization. All of these together were seen as a ‘package of practices’ to supersede ‘traditional’ technology and to be adopted as a whole.
Both the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation were heavily involved. One key leader was Norman Borlaug, the “Father of the Green Revolution”, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970. He is credited with saving over a billion people from starvation. The basic approach was the development of high-yielding varieties of cereal grains, expansion of irrigation infrastructure, modernization of management techniques, distribution of hybridized seeds, synthetic fertilizers, and pesticides to farmers.
The term “Green Revolution” was first used in a speech on 8 March 1968 by the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), William S. Gaud, who noted the spread of the new technologies: “These and other developments in the field of agriculture contain the makings of a new revolution. It is not a violent Red Revolution like that of the Soviets, nor is it a White Revolution like that of the Shah of Iran. I call it the Green Revolution.”