Daily Archives: September 24, 2009

The next green revolution: WARNINGS

M. S. Swaminathan was one of the keynote speakers at the 2nd World Seed Conference held recently in Rome. He is credited with being one of the fathers of the Green Revolution

His speech can be downloaded at: https://www.seedtest.org/upload/cms/user/MrSwaminathanSpeech1.pdf

One of his key points was that:

“This (the next green revolution) should be achieved without harm to the ecological foundations essential for sustainable agriculture. The green revolution should become an ever-green revolution…without ecological harm.”

Speaking as a member of the final panel discussion, he went further and talked specifically about the damage in India caused by over use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.   See the general interest article that appeared earlier this year in National Geographic which discusses this issue.

The next Green Revolution is underway in Africa with dozens of organizations (including ICRISAT with its seed alliances) focusing on increasing agricultural output. The topic of sustainability is gaining traction, and Malawi farmer association NASFAM comments in its June 2009 newsletter, “Titukulane”, that:

“….there have been damaging consequences of the methods used. The use of inorganic fertilizers and pesticides has damaged the environment and ecosystems, impoverished the soil and polluted water supplies. The use of hybrid seeds has reduced biodiversity and created mono-cultures which are susceptible to disease and epidemics….The costs of dealing with these problems are hidden and carried by society in general. “

NASFAM is taking this mission seriously, and in the same newsletter (available to members) has a new section on Conservation Agriculture in which it provides detailed instructions targeting s/h farmers on a range of activities they can easily adopt. There is also a very well written feature on Turning your green plant residues to “gold” which describes how to make natural compost.

Post written by Peter Bloch, consultant to CAS-IP