Green Revolution lab Jaunti shows agriculture in crisis now

Five decades after the green revolution, Down To Earth visited the village from where it all started, to assess the agrarian crisis situation there

Last Updated: Wednesday 29 May 2019

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.

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