The story of first green revolution began when Mexican Scientist Dr. Norman E. Borlaug developed wheat variety which was short in height and with long panicle. The discovery of wheat ideotype with dwarf size, fertilizer responsive and high yielding solve the panacea of hunger that the world was facing during 1960’s.
Similarly conventional rice varieties were long and leggy. If you give fertilizer, they grew tall, fall over and yield less. The discovery if IR8 varieties in 1962 by International Rice Research Insitute (IRRI) transform the productivity. Similarly in case of Maize, the discovery of high yielding cross pollinated varieties save the world from the threat of extinction of human beings because of hunger.
By 1970’s the term “Revolution” was well deserved when the modern varieties seed reach to many farmers and replace their traditional farming practices. By 1990’s almost 75% of Asian rice area were sown with new varieties.
Thanks to the revolutionary decade of green revolution which bought a new face of food production with new seed and with good harvest. But ironically it couldn’t prove itself as a successful strategy for ending hunger that the world will soon be facing. The technology of green revolution reached t handful people who were economically and socially strong. It couldn’t go to the fields of small holders who were economically poor and socially desperate. It failed to alter the tightly concentrated distribution of economic power and access to land and resources.
Basically Green Revolution give the way to biorevolution based on genetic modification. Chemical agriculture is destroying the future of food production. We got soil erosion, soil salinization, soil compaction, water lodging, loss of biodiversity and that is occurring in alarming rate. The chemical cum biotechnology companies like Monsanto thought behind boosting crop yield to feed hungry planet is skeptical.
The United Nations predict that the world population will be 9 billion by 2050. To meet the food demand of 9 billion stomach, the agricultural productivity should be increased by 50%.
“World hunger is caused by destroying people capacity to feed themselves” –Vandana Shiva, Environmental Activist
Biodiversity Rich Farming Practice
Future food security is threatened by genetic erosion of diversity within and between population f the same species over time. In many societies uncultivated food, or food collected from the wild, finds its way into people diets and contributes significantly to the overall food security and micro-nutrient intake (preventing ‘hidden hunger’). In Nepal, the harvest from forests or the wild is a major source of medicine, food an nutrition for ethnic communities like Chepang, Rai, Sherpa and Gurung. The Rai and Sherpa community use 47 wild species for household consumption, 38 for fodder, 19 for medicine, 5 for religious and ceremonial purpose (LIBIRD, 2012). Jumli Marshi rice variety of Nepal is very tolerant to chilling temperature and adapted to highest elevation (3000m asl). The population is very susceptible to leaf and neck blast because of narrow genetic base as all landrace of Jumla originated from a single origin.
The intensification practice of monoculture threatens the source of genetic diversity and thus threatens both local and global food security.
“Most of the food need of poor part of humanity are met by having Biodiversity rich farming, Biodiversity will feed the world not chemical, ecological cycle will feed the world not genetic engineering” –Vandana Shiva, Environmental Activist
Seeking Greener Revolution
The first green revolution was not green enough. The second revolution should seek miracle on different approach. Farmer will nnot adapt single miracle variety, it should cover the need of people whose farm is dry, flooded, salty and so on. In contrast of increasing the productivity, it should cover the nutritional need of people and solve the malnutrition. The second green revolution should be greener enough to reach to small holder poorest farmers in contrast first had big impact on richest field. The second revolution should meet the food and nutrition demand conserving genetic diversity, reducing petrochemical use, addressing climate change, improving people livelihood. Moreover it should be sexy enough to attract youth towards farming as respectful profession.
The United Nation’s general assembly declaration of 2014 as International Year of Family Farming draw the world’s attention to the importance of smallholder farmers towards reducing poverty and hunger conserving biodiversity and providing the household and communities with nutritional rich food and livelihood. The future of world food security hold in hands of small holder farmers who make up their living on different landscapes.
World Food Day and Family Farming
The World Food Day 2014 Theme is Family Farming “Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth”. The theme has been chosen to raise the profile of family farming and smallholder farmers. It focuses world attention on the significant role of family farming in eradicating hunger and poverty, providing food security and nutrition, improving livelihoods, managing natural resources, protecting the environment, and achieving sustainable development, in particular in rural areas.
Image Credit : FAO