From Down to Earth: India is going through one of the worst farm crisis in its history. To understand about this crisis we have to investigate the roots of the celebrated Green Revolution and what happened after that. This is the story of Jaunty, the village which was once the flagbearer of the Green Revolution.
India is going through one of the worst agrarian crisis in history. Farmers are in distress and the government is not doing much to help the situation.
Experts say that the agriculture sector has transitioned after Independence from a food crisis to a farm crisis. The green revolution is now a long-lost memory.
To understand the depth and intensity of the current crisis, we have to look into the reasons that led to the green revolution and what happened to the country after that.
Post-independence, India was perpetually facing a food crisis and by the 1960s the situation became worse. The country was dependant on food imports, which was mostly inefficient and inconsistent.
This period of extreme distress led to the green revolution, with the help of geneticist MS Swaminathan and his team, which lifted India to be self-sufficiency.
Swaminathan imported and introduced High Yielding Variety (HYV) seeds, which was first tested at Jaunti — a small village on the outskirts of Delhi.
Five decades later, Down To Earth visited Jaunti, to assess the agrarian situation there. The villagers still remembers the green revolution and talk about the time with excitement. But, asked about the present situation, their faces turn sombre. Extreme water scarcity and excessive use of fertilisers has taken a toll on the agricultural lands of Jaunti.
Interestingly, among criticisms of the green revolution is the increased stress on water resources as well as damage to the natural environment due to use of fertilisers.
This problem is common for most areas facing the agrarian crisis. Farmers say that production has fallen back to what it was, but the expenses have sky rocketed leaving them with nothing at the end of the day.
Further, bad policies and indifference of government act as a double whammy for farmers. The green revolution, which was once a success, has contributed to pushing the agrarian sector into deep crisis.
Now, Jaunti village and its farmers are all that is left to remind us of a revolution that once led to an agrarian boom in the country.
Obituary: The Passing of Bhaskar Save: What The ‘Green Revolution’ Did for India
In this tribute, Colin Todhunter writes: Bhaskar Save died on 24 October 2015 at age 93. Emphasising self-reliance at the farm/village level, Save was regarded as the ‘Gandhi of natural farming’. Masanobu Fukuoka, the legendary Japanese organic farmer once described Bhaskar Hiraji Save’s farm as “the best in the world, even better than my own!”
From the Green Revolution to GMOs: Living in the shadow of global agribusiness
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Colin Todhunter writes: Powerful corporations hold sway over a globalised system of food and agriculture from seed to plate. The narrative about farming has been shaped to benefit this handful of influential corporations. With major mergers within the agribusiness sector in the pipeline, power will be further consolidated and the situation is likely to worsen.
Devinder Sharma: “It’s the farmers who have been subsidising the nation all these years”
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“The economic crisis farmers are facing is compounded by the denial of a rightful income to farmers for their produce. To keep food inflation under control it is the farmers who have paid the price. What we don’t realise is that it’s the farmers who’ve been subsidising the nation all these years.”
Total Recall: How the match is fixed against Indian farmers (2015 article)
Devinder Sharma, Catch News
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