The Green Revolution and the Unfulfilled Promise of Food Security
For most of India’s history, periodic droughts led to regional famines that killed millions of people. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, however, new irrigation techniques, pesticides, fertilizers, and high-yielding seed varieties enabled India to become agriculturally self-sufficient. Since the introduction of these “green revolution” practices, famine has not returned to the sub-continent.
Forty years later, unintended consequences of the “green revolution” threaten both the resiliency of the earth and the welfare of people – not only in India, but all over the world. The very chemicals that once saved millions of lives, now threaten the health of future generations. They have also degraded the soil to such a degree that farmers are forced, in a vicious cycle, to apply more and more chemicals to achieve the same yield.
As a result, farmers find it increasingly difficult to feed their families and earn a living. In the Tibetan exile community, members of the younger generation often leave their parents’ farms, drawn to opportunities that cities promise. And across India, since 1997, almost 200,000 farmers have committed suicide and many more have abandoned their farms to seek new livelihoods.
The Tibetan government-in-exile has embraced compassionate, organic practices in an effort to heal the soil and the farmers who work with it.
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