Borlaug-Collaborator M.S. Swaminathan Calls for "Evergreen Revolution" to Double Agricultural Production in India
January 9, 2013 • 11:21AM

Addressing the Indian Science Congress on Jan. 7, agronomist and one of the three most important contributors, with the late American agro-scientist, Norman Borlaug, to India's Green Revolution that pulled the nation out of famine to agricultural abundance, M. S. Swaminathan said science could lead to an "evergreen revolution" in agriculture. This revolution can aim at increasing productivity without associated ecological or social harm, The Hindu reported today.

A close associate of the late Indian premier, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, Swaminathan said: If cultivation of land is continued without conservation of soil fertility, and involves replacement of many local varieties of plants with one or two varieties, then there will be a disastrous effect, so we must have an 'Evergreen Revolution' in terms of increasing productivity without perpetuating any associated ecological harm.

Dr. Swaminathan said that the fertilizer-use efficiency is very low in the country, at about 48 percent. It can be increased to 90 percent using scientific methods, he said. He later told journalists that agricultural production from one kilogram of urea could be doubled by adopting scientific processes.

Pointing out that West Bengal, Bihar, and Assam were the sleeping giants of Indian agriculture, with enormous potential to increase productivity, he said: "Eastern India (the land up to Bihar) is well endowed with water resources. Water is not the limiting factor, but water management is a factor. This area can become a fertile belt, if a synergetic packet of technology, services, and marketing opportunities can be introduced."