Bringing science and development together through news and analysis

  • New study probes highs and lows of Green Revolution

One of broadest assessments of the impact of the Green Revolution to date shows that although improved crop yields did benefit farmers in many developing countries, others suffered from associated price reductions of their crops.

The study confirms that the Green Revolution — which in the 1960s and 1970s saw the widespread introduction of high-yielding crop varieties — increased global food production, leading to a decline in food prices and an increase in people's average calorific intake.

But it also suggests that some farmers, who did not benefit from the increased yields — though nonetheless experienced decreasing prices for their harvests — suffered actual losses of income.

The study — initiated by the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (GGIAR), which supports a global network of agricultural research centres — gives a "nuanced view" of internationally funded research, according to a R E Evenson and D Gollin of Yale University, United States.

Writing in this week's journal Science, they note that the benefits of the Green Revolution were "uneven across crops and regions". Farmers in less favourable farming regions, such as sub-Saharan African, fared particularly badly, they say.

"But it is unclear what alternative scenario would have allowed developing countries to meet, with lower environmental impact, the human needs posed by the massive population expansion of the 20th century," they write.

Link to Science article

© SciDev.Net 2003
We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.