Gains of Green Revolution at risk: Report

Gains of Green Revolution are at risk due to declining trends in agri-research & rural investment.

Last Updated: Sep 27, 2010, 22:40 PM IST

New York: Sixty-five per cent of hungry
people in the world live in Asia, according to a new report on
Food Security, which also warns that the gains of the Green
Revolution could be at risk due to declining trends in
agricultural research and rural investment.

The report prepared by a group of researches led by
noted agriculture scientist M S Swaminathan, who is also known
as the father of India`s Green Revolution, and former US
Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman pointed out that the
true extent of poverty is masked by economic growth.

The number of people living in hunger may lead to
long-term food supply shortages and increased vulnerability to
the famines, the report by the Asia Society and International
Rice Research Institute said.

Widespread poverty is one of the main reasons for the
food insecurity in the Asia region.

"Nearly two-thirds of the world`s 1.4 billion poor
live in Asia and many of them cannot buy food and they do not
have land to grow food," the report said.

"The sheer magnitude of poverty and hunger in Asia is
often masked by the dynamic macro economies in the region.
Beneath that dynamism, however, lie stagnant, even declining
levels of welfare for many households."

The report also warned that the gains achieved through
the Green Revolution could be at risk due to declining trends
in agricultural research and rural investment.

The other reason for lack of food security in the
region is the large population, the study said and notes that
at current consumption levels per capita, rice production
would need to grow by roughly 4 million metric tons each year
because of population growth.

The report also underlined that rapid economic growth
in China and India has diversified food demand and improved
the quality of diets, but at the same time led to the
reduction of land available for rice.

"The rice-related tensions that developing countries
face are growing more complex as their economies grow," the
report said.

The report also underlined that due to the economic
growth, current rice cultivation areas are likely to be lost
to urban expansion and land conversion to bio fuels, which
implies that production from smaller and smaller areas will
have to provide for future demands.

The report makes several recommendations on enhancing
food security including improve the environment for rural
development, with renewed attention to how to stabilise
domestic food economies.

"Provide safety nets and more nutritious foods to the
rural and urban poor so that they can lead productive lives
even in the face of significant risks and vulnerabilities," it
said.

-PTI