Indian agriculture: From green to gene revolution

Indian agriculture: From green to gene revolution
Agriculture has been the backbone of Indian economy since ancient times and even today it provides a livelihood for more than 50% of the Indian population. Our Indian agriculture witnessed a major technological breakthrough in the 1960s called the green revolution, which prevented famine and resulted in food self-sufficiency. An extra-ordinary growth of almost all food crops has been achieved with land reform, chemical fertilizers, high yielding variety of seeds, mechanisation and multiple cropping. On the whole, green revolution reduced the production cost offering cheaper prices of food and less conversion of forest or natural land to farmland. Although it was impressive, it was not 100% success because of few issues associated with the environment and society like soil erosion, soil salinity, environmental degradation, loss of crop diversity, pest resurgence, increased incidence of mosquito-borne diseases, etc. When the advantages of green revolution got masked by these issues, the need for a natural and renewable resource based sustainable agriculture was felt. This has resulted in another revolution in agriculture called gene revolution to create new genetically modified (GM) crops using biotechnology. In India, the only approved and commercially grown GM crop is Bt cotton. Adoption of this technology has increased Bt cotton’s yield and quality. Since there is diminished use of pesticides and herbicides, and increased profits along with good yield and quality with this technology, the Indian government has recently approved for the field trials of 21 new varieties of genetically modified (GM) crops. This includes rice, wheat, maize, chickpea, mustard, cotton, brinjal, etc. Scientists believe that gene revolution could do more good and could improve even more crops (not only grains but also legumes, vegetables, roots and fruits) than green revolution but some activists do not support a novel gene combination as it may have health or environmental impact in future because the history of safety with this new technology is unavailable and it requires time. It is uncertain and a long-standing debate that if this gene revolution would be a solution for our limited agricultural output, increasing population and climate change or would go against human and environmental safety.


How to cite this article:
Hameedunissa Begum A. Indian agriculture: From green to gene revolution . BioLim O-Media. 16 December, 2015. 3(10).
Available from: http://www.biolim.com/read/BOMA0100.