Green Revolution: Pathways to Food Security in an Era of Climate Variability and Change?
Netra Chhetri* and Pashupati Chaudhary**,***
*School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning and the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes, Arizona State University, PO Box 874401, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
**Department of Biology, University of Massachusetts Boston, 100 Morrissey Blvd., Boston, MA 02125, USA
***Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, Royal Enclave, Srirampura, Jakkur Post, Bangalore, 560024, India
Critical technological breakthrough in agriculture and the policy surrounding it resulted in a series of successes in increasing the food productivity, especially in developing countries, and came to be known as Green Revolution. The systems of food production, however, to date, faces new challenges due to convergence of multiple factors, including the impending threat of changing climate. Our goal in this paper is to review and reflect upon the achievements of the Green Revolution, perceived as a superb achievement of science and technology policy in South Asia and elsewhere, and discuss how the program and the policy that came to be associated with it will respond to new challenges. We argue that in an era of rapidly changing climate and the uncertainties associated with it, the world food system is encountering a significant challenge leading us to question whether the Green Revolution celebrated as technically advanced and “modern” in the past is adequate to respond to the diverse array of challenges that will be encountered in the 21st century. For all its innovativeness and achievement, the ability of the Green Revolution to respond to emerging challenges is unlikely to follow a smooth trajectory with time. So responding to emerging challenges requires a new gestalt of concepts that demands different science and technology policy whereby farmers can produce more food and other agricultural commodities sustainably under conditions of declining per capita arable land, irrigation water, dwindling resource base and agricultural labor supply along with the stresses of climate change.
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