Green Revolution: Was It?
How We Ended Up Here?
In the ‘60’s, we weren’t growing enough wheat and rice. To combat malnourishment, Government of India introduced a) High-Yielding Varieties (HYV) of seeds to farmers to increase the crop yield and b) a new set of policies that criminally favored chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and bioengineered seeds over organic farming.
However, as with any complex issue that needs clear understanding of the problem and relative factors, this one also needed strict scientific evidence and rigorous approach, but rapacious corporates and IYIs (intellectuals Yet Idiots) failed us.
Instead of encouraging farmers to use centuries-old knowledge and take up organic farming while solving deep-rooted issues like logistics (nearly 40% of all fresh food produced in India perishes before it can get to customers) and unequal land distribution (5% of the farmers own 32% of the land), government relied on a cheap technological trick.
The worrisome thing is even the original proponents of “Green Revolution” have changed their position but the government is still dolling out subsidies for chemical farming.
So What Happened?
Let’s examine. A short-term increase in yield gave us following issues:
1) Compared to heirloom seeds, Hybrids/GMOs needed pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and more water to sustain and grow. Obviously, farmers started buying these on regular basis making them completely dependent on big fat, monster corporates. In the name of GMOs/HYVs, farmers got tricked with one-trick pony instead of a data-backed, thoroughly tested scientific invention
2) Moreover, hybrid seeds couldn’t be saved since they don’t produce uniform offsprings next year (i.e. they just don’t grow like their parents) and give wild crops forcing farmers to go back to source (read: companies like Monsanto) requiring seed purchase for every cultivation
3) Farmers who were self-reliant suddenly became dependent on corporates. Many farmers couldn’t (and still can’t) afford buying fertilizers, seeds, and pesticides every year requiring them to take huge loans which in turn forced them to either commit suicide or migrate to a city. Sadly, even today, this death cycle hasn’t stopped
4) The massive migration of people from village to cities gave birth to a whole slew of complex issues like income-inequality, pollution, unemployment etc.
5) Extremely short-sighted set of policies/program gave us good results for wheat (and only for the next 10 years) making farmers to only grow wheat. And hence production of other nutrient-rich food like Ragi, Jowar dropped significantly resulting in a loss of biodiversity in crops and malnutrition in people. Biodiversity is very important for consistently high crop yield so what gave good results in a short run has now endangered the entire agriculture sector
PS: Even after 40 years, government didn’t stop (to re-evaluate the original premise) but deemed it success — like what could go wrong, right?
6) Poor nutrition coupled with sedentary lifestyle has resulted in a generation of people that’s dependent on health care (voila, you must have spotted more hospitals/clinics than gardens in your city) instead of healing organic food (one of the main things it does is strengthen your body’s immune system)
When our founder, Madhu Chandan, returned from the US to his hometown Mandya in 2014, he saw the condition of farmers and decided to do something about it.
Soon Madhu realized chemical farming has ruined agriculture and we need to go back to our roots. He started talking to farmers explaining them how organic farming works — use of only natural means such as fertilizers obtained from cow dung, techniques such as crop rotation and mixed cropping, and biological pest control. After seeing the results, more and more farmers joined this impromptu group which led to the formation of Mandya Organic Farmers Co-operative Society.
Every Monday we hold a free organic farming training session in Mandya (it’s a mix of various natural farming techniques — predominantly, Subhash Palekar’s Zero Budget Natural Farming). So far, thousands of farmers across India have come to learn how organic farming is done and you’d be glad to know, as of now, we have 7000+ farmers under our co-op society!
We procure the produce directly from these farmers and sell them through our chain of supermarkets in Bangalore.
Our mission, in that sense, is threefold: a) help provide sustainable livelihoods to farmers, and b) offer 100% honest organic food to people, and c) make Mandya (to start with) chemical-free.
I Want to Help!
Let’s start a true Green Revolution.
- Make a commitment to always buy organic products — it’s an investment in yours, your family’s, and even more importantly, our planet’s future
- Educate people. We haven’t invented any new technique here, just revived ancient practices that sustained this nation for centuries — it’s all about practicality and common sense!
- Help spread the word — like and share this article. Buy 100% honest products. And if it’s not too much to ask, follow us on Facebook/Instagram (our handle: organicmandya)
- If you’ve any questions related to organic farming or would like to be part of our sweat donation program, feel free to send us an email at support (at) organicmandya (dot) com
Let’s not complain for the sake of it. Let’s take responsibility and act. It’s about time.