Thousands of farmers throughout India are reverting back to traditional farming methods as the consequences of Western agriculture have begun to negatively impact the region’s food and water supply, and the health of its people.
More than 40 years after the “Green Revolution,” a period in which India’s agricultural yields skyrocketed following the introduction of commercial farming techniques, growers are returning to traditional, organic methods that date back to centuries ago.
In a last-ditch attempt to save the country’s weakened resources, and the health of its people, India has emerged as a global leader in organic farming, as they’ve welcomed 600,000 certified producers.
The benefits of the “Green Revolution” lasted less than a decade before threatening India’s food and water supply
In the 1970s and 1980s, the “Green Revolution” introduced farmers in the state of Punjab to synthetic fertilizers, high-yield seeds and irrigation, which transformed the country into an economic powerhouse, allowing them to produce enough wheat and rice to feed a once-starving population.
Through the use of commercial agriculture, which included the use of synthetic fertilizers such as urea and phosphate, Punjab produced nearly two-thirds of the country’s wheat and rice in the 1980s and 1990s, lining the pockets of farmers as gross incomes rose nearly 10 percent in just one year, accordingto Al Jazeera.
While offering a sense of hope to a country that was once in turmoil, it soon became clear that the West’s version of farming was not sustainable. Because the seeds were high-yield, they required a lot of water, more water than was naturally available through rainfall, causing farmers to begin drilling in fields, searching for water for irrigation.
The state’s water supply became threatened due to the constant drilling, as well as contamination caused by the large amounts of chemicals that were increasingly being poured into the soil.
State of Punjab, where commercial agriculture was first introduced, now has the country’s highest cancer rates