THE GREEN REVOLUTION DEBATES – 1970-2007

An Introductory Bibliography

Altieri, Miguel A.

1995. Creating the Synergisms for a Sustainable Agriculture. NY:  UNDP Guidebooks.

1988. Agroecology : the Scientific Basis of Alternative Agriculture. Boulder:  Westview, 2nd ed.

 A geneticist analyzes the scientific bases for sustainable food production.

Badgley, C., et. al. 2007. Organic Agriculture and the Global Food Supply. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems.

Detailed discussion of alternative organic production models which can feed the world.

Bayliss-Smith, Tim. 1984. “Energy Flows and Agrarian Change in Karnataka:  The Green Revolution at Micro-scale,” in Bayliss-Smith and Sudhr Wanmali, eds. Understanding Green Revolutions:  Agrarian Change and Development Planning in South Asia. Cambridge University Press.

Traditional rice production in India produces 10 times more energy in food than what was expended to grow it.  Green revolution production brings the relation to equal or reverses it.  While types of energy are not strictly comparable, this analysis points out the high consumption of energy necessary for high tech food production.

Bowonder, B.  1979. “Impact Analysis of the Green Revolution in India,”  Technological Forecasting and Social Change 15/4 (December): 297-313.

It has mainly benefited the rich, who have land, irrigation and credit for inputs.

Dahlberg, Kenneth. 1979. Beyond the Green Revolution: The Ecology and Politics of Global Agricultural Development. New York: Plenum Press.

Technology involves a number of culturally and environmentally specific elements that are neither neutral nor universal.

Ellstrand, Norman C. 2003. Dangerous Liaisons? When Cultivated Plants Mate with Their Wild Relatives. Baltimore:  John Hopkins University Press.

Problems of genetically-modified plant pollen contaminating other varieties.

Falcon, Walter P. 1970. “The Green Revolution: Generations of Problems,”  American Journal of Agricultural Economics 52/5 (December): 698-710.

First generation problem of production (water, fertilizers in exact quantities); second generation problem of marketing; third generation problem of equity and employment.

Food and Agriculture Organization, United Nations. 1996. Report on the State of the World’s Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, prepared for the International Technical Conference on Plant Genetic Resources, Leipzig, June 17-23, Rome: FAO, pp. 13-14:

“The chief contemporary cause of the loss of genetic diversity has been the spread of modern commercial agriculture. The largely unintended consequence of the introduction of new varieties of crops has been the replacement and loss of traditional highly variable farmer varieties….[In the United States], 95 percent of the cabbage, 91 percent of the field maize, 94 percent of the pea and 81 percent of the tomato varieties apparently no longer exist. The processes of modernization and varietal replacement, well documented in the United States, have now occurred in many other countries and have surely led to substantial losses of unique genetic materials.”

GRAIN. 2006.  “Another Silver Bullet for Africa?  Bill Gates to Resurrect the Rockefeller Foundation’s Decaying Green Revolution.”

A short overview of the issues.

Halberg, N., et. al. 2007. Global Development of Organic Agriculture:  Challenges and Prospects. London: CABI Publishing.

Data and analysis advocating that organic farming can provide sufficient food.

Holt-Gimenez, Eric; Miguel Altieri, and Peter Rosset. 2006. “Ten Reasons Why the Rockefeller and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations’ Alliance for Another Green Revolution Will Not Solve the Problems of Poverty and Hunger in Sub-Saharan Africa.”  Food First Policy Brief. No. 12.

This analysis discusses the scientific and social claims made for the green revolution approach to agriculture.

Inter-Academy Council. 2004. “Realizing the Promise of African Agriculture,”  Amsterdam.  http://www.interacademycouncil.net/CMS/Reports/AfricanAgriculture.aspx

Expert report commissioned by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan which concludes that Africa’s ecological systems are too diverse for the “technological bullet” of a green revolution.

Losey, John, J.J. Obrycki, and R.A. Hufbauer.

2004. “Biosafety Considerations for Transgenic Insecticidal Plants: Non-Target Herbivores, Detritivores, and Pollinators.” Encyclopedia of Plant and Crop Science, pp. 153-155.

2004. “Biosafety Considerations for Transgenic Insecticidal Plants: Non-Target Predators and Parasitoids, Encyclopedia of Plant and Crop Science, pp. 156-159.

Mayet, Miriam.  2007.  “The New Green Revolution in Africa: Trojan Horse for GMOs?”  in A. Norstad, ed. Africa Can Feed Itself. Oslo: The Development Fund.

Relates the Alliance for a Green Revolution (AGRA) to Monsanto’s Seeds of Hope Campaign.

Mushita, Andrew and Carol Thompson.  2007.  Biopiracy of Biodiversity – International Exchange as Enclosure. Trenton, New Jersey: Africa World Press.

A comprehensive analysis of current issues relating to food production, from biopiracy and patenting, to how trade and land reform models promote industrial agriculture, concluding with successful African alternatives for sustainable food production and food sovereignty.

Norstad, Aksel. 2007. Africa Can Feed Itself. Oslo: The Development Fund.

Articles from a June 2007 conference in Norway, covering issues from climate change, to development aid, organic farming and farmers’ organizations.

Prahladachar, M. 1983. “Income Distribution Effects of  the Green Revolution in India:  A Review of Empirical Evidences,” World Development 11: pp: 927-944.

Paddock, William. 1970. “How Green is the Green Revolution?” Bioscience 20/16 (August):  pp: 897-902.

The green revolution would die without any one of the three:  subsidies, irrigation, fertilizers. Green Revolution crops developed in one tropical environment do poorly in another.

Shiva, Vandana. 2007. “Not so Green Revolution:  Lessons from India,”   in A. Norstad, ed. Africa Can Feed Itself. Oslo: The Development Fund.

The article provides documentation to question the production output claims of the Indian green revolution, as well as to demonstrate its impact on small-scale farmers.

Singh, R. B.  2000.  “Environmental Consequences of Agricultural Development:  A Case Study from the Green Revolution State of Haryana, India,” Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment  82/1: pp: 103-107.

Spitz, Pierre. 1985. Food Systems and Society in India. Geneva:  UNRISD.

While consumption of green revolution wheat increased in India, per capita consumption of legumes (peas, beans, lentils),  a vital source of protein, dropped by one-half (p. 346), mainly related to changes in land-use.

Staub, William and Melvin Blasé. 1971. “Genetic Technology and Agricultural Development,” Science 173/3992 (July 9): pp: 119-123.

Analyzes close association of  genetic seed technologies with irrigation.

Swanson, Timothy. 1996. The Economics of Environmental Degradation—Tragedy for the Commons? Cheltenham: Edward Elgar and UNEP.

The research documents the loss of biodiversity in varieties of rice in Asia from the green revolution.

Thompson, Carol B. 2007. Africa: Green Revolution or Rainbow Evolution?Foreign Policy in  Focus. (July).

A brief overview outlining the points of controversy.

United Nations. 1969. “Planning Strategies in Agriculture,” Economic Bulletin for Asia and the Far East, 20/2 (September): pp: 9-30.

Considerable doubt is cast on the wisdom of concentrating resources on the introduction of new high-yielding varieties of seed;  requirements include water management, peasant self-help organizations.

UNRISD. 1974.  The Social and Economic Implicatons of Large-scale Introduction of New Varieties of Food Grain:  Summary of Conclusion of a Global Research Project. Report NO. 74.1 Geneva:  UNRISD.

The most comprehensive study, undertaken with UNDP, of the social and economic implications of the green revolution in 15 countries.

A few conclusions: a) “The introduction of new varieties is not in itself a simple prescription which can be easily applied over large areas of the world…specific varieties need to be tailored to very localized soil and climatic conditions.”  b) Although initially “high-yielding,”  later yields reflect the productive limits of the land. c) Where serious social inequalities already exist, new technology will increase them.

Yapa, Lakshman. 1979.  Ecopolitical Economy of the Green Revolution,” Professional Geographer 31/4: pp: 371-76.

Use of technology for increased production is not neutral and affects ecological relations.