Insight

How a green revolution addresses food security in Africa

The Issues with India’s Green Revolution

Since the Green Revolution, India’s crop productivity has significantly improved, making the country one of the world’s largest grain and rice exporters. However, questions remain as to the success of the revolution in terms of food security, welfare, and quality of life. Despite large increases in production volume, overall food availability has barely increased due to the population almost tripling since the 1960’s. Per capita net availability jumped from 144 kg per year in 1951 to 171 kg in 1971 largely due to greater availability of wheat, but over the last 50 years has fluctuated between 170 and 180 kg.

Increases in yields have not resulted in corresponding decreases in malnutrition, with one quarter of all those malnourished in the world living in India. The country ranks 94th of 107 countries in the 2020 Global Hunger Index and roughly 14% of the population is undernourished. India is also experiencing rapid increases in cases of over-nutrition, due to an excess in the consumption of calories and lack of variety in their diets. Today, agricultural households account for many of the extreme poverty cases in India, with many farmers also encountering crippling debt and severe mental health issues. In recent months changing government policies in India have sparked outrage from farmers with huge farmer protests taking place. Alongside these problems, the green revolution has exacerbated many of the negative environmental impacts of agriculture in the region, including:

  • Loss of soil fertility
  • Soil erosion
  • Soil toxicity
  • Diminishing water resources
  • Pollution of underground water
  • Salinity of underground water
  • Increased incidences of human and livestock diseases
  • Climate change

Addresing food security in Africa

While the Green Revolution in India led to increased grain production and export capabilities, it failed to significantly enhance food security or quality of life, highlighting the need for Africa to learn from these outcomes to achieve more sustainable and equitable agricultural advancements.

At Farrelly Mitchell, we support governments, NGOs, DFIs, and businesses in developing more productive agricultural outcomes, particularly in developing nations. We strive to make our solutions practical, effective, and sustainable, ensuring that the projects, policies, and initiatives we work on are successful in the long-term. For strategic support in program design and policy development, reach out to our team today.

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How a green revolution addresses food security issues in Afric

Author

sean@initiate.ie

Regional Director (West Africa)
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