It is a proud moment for the country to have a Green Revolution 50 years ago. However, today once again Indian agriculture is on the crossroads with new challenges of development. Our major challenges are depletion and degradation of natural resources, drop in the water table, reduction in flow of water in rivers, lakes, biotic and abiotic stresses, climatic change among others, Radha Mohan Singh, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare in New Delhi today.
The Minister was speaking on the occasion of Golden Jubilee celebrations of Green Revolution at National Agricultural Science Centre Complex in New Delhi.
Following the Green Revolution, India’s foodgrain production that was 82 MT in 1960-61 has touched 264 MT by 2013-14. In this period the rice production increased from 34 MT to 100 MT. Simultaneously, the wheat production which was 11 MT is now over 90 MT. At national level the average productivity of rice which was 1013 kg per hectare is now above 2,500 kg per hectare. Similarly, the productivity of wheat also has gone up from 850 kg per hectare to over 3,000 kg per hectare in the corresponding period.
Thereafter, Indian agriculture witnessed an all round development as a result of which horticulture production is now over 280 MT, milk production about 140 MT, fisheries 9.5 MT and eggs are about 73 billion. These achievements have placed India among the leading producer of these food items. The success of Green Revolution in India proved wrong the theories of Malthus and economists who said that India would suffer on account of poverty and technological backwardness. Several countries in the world are now trying to adopt the India’s Green Revolution model for their respective agricultural development.
The discovery and use of Norin-10 gene by father of Green Revolution Dr. Norman Borlaug in developing dwarf and high yielding wheat varieties laid the foundation of Green Revolution. Under the leadership of Dr. MS Swaminathan, the Mexican wheat were received in India and also developed Sonora-64 to suit the Indian agro climatic conditions.
It is generally believed that the benefits of green revolution were confined to areas with better natural endowments and the rainfed areas could not get benefit as much. The rainfed areas today contribute about 60 percent to the agricultural production. Therefore, we need to focus on water management and conservation in these areas.
”It is time for second Green Revolution in the country and we believe that this can happen from the eastern states of our country. We have already taken several initiatives in research and development to achieve this goal,” Singh said.
Speaking in the conference, Prof. MS Swaminathan, Chairman, MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), highlighted the excellent synergy between technology and public policy that made Green Revolution a stupendous success. He also appreciated farmers for cooperating in national demonstrations of new varieties and adoption of same on wide scale that immediately catapulted wheat production in the country. Dr Swaminathan recalled contributions of many fellow scientists and paid tributes to Dr. Norman Borlaug for his help, support and guidance. He elaborated upon various scientific initiatives that can help nutritional security and freedom from hunger.
Earlier, Dr. S Ayyappan, Director General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) made a presentation on journey of Green Revolution depicting the transformation from ship to mouth to right to food. He said innovations, inputs and incentives in agriculture need to be given prime importance to sustain the food security and move towards evergreen revolution and nutritional security. He also elaborated upon various opportunities that can be availed for addressing the current challenges and make agriculture demand driven and profitable.
Past presidents of National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS), NAAS fellows, veteran and emeritus scientists, senior officials of ICAR and Ministry of Agriculture, representatives of international agricultural research organisations, Vice Chancellors and representatives of Agricultural Universities and policy planners participated in the conference.
The National Conference was jointly organized by NAAS, ICAR and Indian Agricultural Research Institute.