Green Revolution and GMOs

by Kaylee Hamilton

What were the causes of the Bengal Famine in 1943?

A cause for the Bengal Famine, the world's worst recorded food disaster, in 1943 was because there was an acute shortfall in food production in the area. This was because of World War II. British rulers did not put food supply as a priority, thus resulting in the Bengal Famine.

Three Basic Elements to the Green Revolution:

The Green Revolution was an effort to achieve food self-sufficiency. It consisted of continuing expansion of farming areas, double-cropping existing farmland, and using seeds with improved genetics. They had to expand farming land enough to meet the rising demand. Instead of having only two-crop seasons per year, one natural "monsoon" and an artificial "monsoon". Lastly, they developed new strains of high yield value seeds, mainly wheat and rice but also millet and corn.

Positive Results of the Green Revolution in India:

The Green Revolution in India resulted in a record grain output of 131 million tons in 1778-1779. This extreme increase made India one of the world's biggest agriculture producers. Also, Yield per farmland increased by more than 30% between the times of the Green Revolution.

Economic, Sociological, and Political Results of the Green Revolution:

The water that was used for the new dams to create monsoon water was stored to create hydroelectric power. This boosted industrial growth, created more jobs, and improved the quality of life. Not only did they create jobs for agricultural workers, but also jobs for industrial workers because of the creation of lateral facilities such as factories and hydro-electric power stations. And finally, India ultimately transformed itself from a starving nation to an exporter or food.

Limitations of the Green Revolution in India:

India's agriculture output can still fall short of demand. For example, in 1987, India faced severe drought conditions because of a poor monsoon. This concludes that the Green Revolution has not made India totally and permanent of self-sufficient food. Even though nothing like the Bengal Famine can happen in India again, parts of India also continue to have famine-like conditions. Starvation deaths, although not due because of insufficient food source, have been reported, but the fact that some people continue to starve in India proposes debates on wether the Green Revolution really worked or not.

Concerns of the Green Revolution:

Although the Green Revolution had several benefits, there were also some concerns that affected both the environment and society. The use of chemical fertilizers and synthetic herbicides and pesticides dramatically influenced the environment by increasing pollution and erosion. Not only was the environment affected, but also the society and their nutrition because of the health issues caused by the new chemicals used to produce the food at a rapid speed.

What are GMOs?

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are organisms that have genetic material that has been altered by genetic engineering techniques. For example, tomatoes can be genetically modified so they last longer and do not spoil as quickly.

Benefits of GMOs:

  • increased crop yields
  • reduced costs for food or drug production
  • reduced need for pesticides, enhanced nutrient composition and food quality
  • resistance to pests and disease
  • greater food security
  • medical benefits to the world's growing population.

Risks of GMOs:

  • produces new toxins, allergens, carcinogens, and nutritional deficiencies
  • harm the environment
  • contaminate the gene pool, forever
  • increase herbicide use
  • are unhealthy
Food Inc: Chicken Farm part II
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