Can the Global South Attain Food Security Without the Green Revolution? Essay Sample

Published: 2022-04-21
Can the Global South Attain Food Security Without the Green Revolution? Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Term paper
Categories:  Food Agriculture
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1784 words
15 min read

This essay will focus on whether food security is attainable without the inputs and the technologies derived from the Green Revolution. At a glance, most people have variations on the topic on what is better between what is greater between the Green Revolution way and the agro-ecological way. Agro-ecological ways define the ecological processes that are applied to the agricultural systems that can be defined as natural. The points clarified in this essay will articulately discuss the views on this topic to determine whether there is a real need for Green Revolution and provide answers on whether the world can forge ahead on Green revolution in an effort to solve the key problems on food security.

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The Green Revolution refers to a period between the early and the mid-nineties when the agricultural processes were transformed in order to increase the agricultural yield and the food production substantially (Otsuka & Larsson, 2013). It consisted of research and vast improvement in technology that resulted in high-yielding plants as well as fertilizers that could improve the yields that could be attained in agriculture. The Green Revolution was a major turning point in agriculture that resulted in vast improvements in the yields that farmers could attain without any considerable increase in farmland. The increase in agricultural production attributed to the Green Revolution has resulted in the questions on whether different parts of the world would survive without the benefits from this revolution. According to Rodney (2018), countries that had contributed to the Green revolution continue to thrive economically while companies that have exploited the methods that have been developed through the revolution continue to excel. Food security in the developed nations such as the United States has resulted from vast investments in the technologies that were developed during the Green Revolution. Thus, in this essay, the author will determine articulately whether or not the nations in the Global South can attain food security without the technologies and inputs that have been the basis of the Green Revolution

Clapp and Cohen (2009) explain that the Green Revolution aimed to vastly improve the food production process resulting in the improved capability of nations to feed their ever-growing populations. The concept was very successful in Mexico and India where the peasants received advice and were enabled to improve the productivity in their farms through mechanization and the use of high-yield seeds. The governments of these nations together with some philanthropic organizations such as the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation invested immensely in the improvement of agriculture as well as land reform systems that enabled the nations to develop an adequate capability to feed its citizens without the need for importing food.

The Global South defines the nations that are geographically located in the southern hemisphere which mainly consist of the developing countries in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Southern Asia (Satterthwaite and Mitlin, 2013). The term has been used widely to describe the less developed nations compared to the wealthy nations that are located in the northern hemisphere. The Global South consists of nations whose population is rapidly growing and thus, it has become necessary for these nations to invest immensely in agriculture in an effort to feed their population.

According to Juma (2015), the developing nations need to utilize the western technologies and inputs that were the basis of the Green Revolution to attain food security. These technologies developed during the Green Revolution have played a vital role in the increase of agricultural yield to their ability to combat the limitations that reduce the productivity of crops such as pests and lack of adequate nutrients in the soil. The utilization of inorganic fertilizers, pesticides, and large-scale irrigation has been the basis of intensification of agriculture in an effort to increase the agricultural yield per unit of land. In the developing world, the main cause of food insecurity is the shortage of food and thus, if this shortage is addressed nations will have covered major steps in addressing food insecurity in their nations. According to Tilman et al. (2011), the world population is expected to stabilize by around 2050 at approximately 9.2 billion compared to the current population of about 7 billion. This huge population growth will mostly occur in the Global South and thus, for this population to be sustained, nations will have to increase their food production.

Bommarco, Kleijn & Potts (2013) argue that the only way the nations in the Global South especially in sub-Saharan African be capable of feeding their ever-growing population is via the intensification of agriculture and expansion of the area under agriculture. Intensification of agriculture enables the increase in the yield of the crop grown per unit of labor, land or capital that has been utilized. Intensification enables the farmers to utilize high-yields, use effective pesticides and fertilizers as adopting labor practices that minimize the amount of labor that is put in the growth of a food crop. This intensification of agriculture to improve production per unit through combating of the limitations that hinder the productivity of crops through the use of inorganic fertilizers and pesticides as well as decreasing the labor through mechanization has been the basis of the Green Revolution.

Kaushik and Adhikari (2015) believe that the technologies developed through the Green Revolution cannot be effective in solving the food security issues in the developing nations. This is based on the concept that food security is based the availability of food, its accessibility, and use. The availability of large volumes of food in a country does not automatically mean that the country has attained food security. Food security can only be attained if all people in a certain nation have access to safe and nutritious foodstuff. While it increases the food production, it is evident that the intensification of agriculture due to the adoption of technologies results in the mechanization of agriculture in an effort to reduce the costs. In nations where the most available labor is either semi-skilled or unskilled, this mechanization of agriculture results in widespread unemployment. Unemployment results in a reduction of purchasing power and thus, the citizens of a country cannot access food due to the inability to purchase safe and nutritious food.

The Global South can attain food security without the need for adopting the technologies that have been the basis of the Green Revolution through the adoption of sustainable agricultural methods. While the Western technologies such as the use of fertilizers and pesticides lead to increased yield in the short-term, they have adverse effects on the environment. Frankema (2014) argues that the adoption of these technologies has resulted in environmental degradation through pollution and clearance of forests in order to increase the land available for agriculture. The natural biodiversity has been affected by the reliance on pesticides to eradicate the pests that limit the yield that can be attained by crops. The reliance of the Green Revolution on non-renewable energy based on petroleum to power up machines that mechanize agriculture has furthered the case on the unsustainability of its influence in agriculture. The fertilizers that have been heavily used in this form of agriculture have been produced using the byproducts of the refining of crude oil. Thus, these Western inputs and technologies heavily compromise the future generation and developing nations need to choose the sustainable methods to improve the food production.

Rather than utilizing the unsustainable technologies that are the basis of the Green Revolution, Vanlauwe et al. (2012) argue that sustainable intensification of agriculture can be useful in meeting the ever-increasing demand for food in the developing nations. Vanlauwe et al. (2012) further explain that the sustainable intensification should be based on three main principles; the increase of crop yield per unit of land, labor or capital used, preservation of vital ecosystems and resilience to stresses such as climate change. Sustainable intensification then is based on proper management of the soil to prevent an imbalance of nutrients and soil erosion and to promote the retention of ecological biodiversity. The agro-inputs that are utilized for agriculture then need to be effectively used in order to reduce the adverse effects on the environment such as pollution of underground water. Then, sufficient levels of agro-diversity need to be maintained via either land sharing or sparing. Sustainable integration also requires the access and the use of high-quality inputs such as high-yield seeds, appropriate pesticides, and fertilizers as well as labor-reducing mechanisms (Pingali, 2012). The availability of capital through affordable lending by financial institutions especially in the planting seasons and ready access to market can incentivize the willingness of the farmers to engage in sustainable agriculture.

However, it is evident that sustainable intensification which presents a viable option to the intensification of agriculture which was the basis of the Green Revolution is highly dependent on inputs and technologies that were developed during the revolution. The sustainable intensification of agriculture requires high-yield seeds, effective application of pesticides and fertilizers and labor-reducing devices which is only possible through mechanization (Lichtfouse, 2013). These agro-inputs mainly originate from the West and were widely adopted in agriculture during the Green Revolution, albeit unsustainably.

Connor and Minguez (2012) argue that the developing nations can attain food security without necessarily intensifying the agriculture and thus, without adopting the technologies that were developed during the Green Revolution. This can be done through stemming the food wastage that occurs in the food chain as well as dietary change. Food wastage occurs throughout the food chain is usually significant for fresh foods such as milk, fruits and vegetables, and meat. Foley et al. (2011) estimate that losses of approximately 30-40% occur as food moves up the food chain in developing and developed nations with major losses occurring on-farm during harvesting, during transportation and harvesting and on the food preparation and consumption. Connor and Minguez (2012) suggest that if this food wastage is addressed, the demand for food will decrease by at least 10% despite the growing population in the Global South. Dietary change by promoting the reduction of meat consumption can be vital attaining food security in the developing world. Except for ruminants which feed exclusively on grass, monogastric animals such poultry and swine increase the demand for primary products such as grains as these grains acts their main foodstuff. Reducing consumption for poultry and swine can result in the decrease in demand for grain resulting in food security. However, reduction in food wastage and dietary change can only occur with behavior change.

Rather than depending solely on the Green Revolution, the Global South can attain food security by developing and adopting a multifaceted approach in agriculture. According to Misselhorn et al. (2012), there is no single method that the developing nations can rely on to achieve food security and thus, they have to utilize multiple methods to attain adequate food in a sustainable way security without the destruct...

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