The Green Revolution In Asia

The Green Revolution in Asia World Issues May 27, 1996 Table of Contents Topic Page The Problem …………………………..3 The Solution………………………. ….3 Background to The Green Revolution ……………..3 Positives of The Green Revolution ……………..3 Problems With The Green Revolution ……………..4 The Green Revolution in Asia …………………5 Rice …………………………… …5 Rice Pests and Solutions……………………5 China………………………… …….6 Viet Nam Reclamation Projects ………………..8 India………………………… …….9 Other Facts …………………………..9 Conclusion……………………… …….10 Map of China………………………… ..11 Map of India ………………………….12 Figure #1: The Rice Plant…………………..13 Figure #2: A Field in the Philippines ……………14 Figure #3: Deepwater Rice in Thailand ……………15 Figure P0: Effects of Hoppers ………………..16 Figure P1: Habitat of Brown Hopper ……………..17 Figure P2: Wolf Spider…………………….18 Figure P3: Black Bug ……………………..19 Figure #4: Irrigated Rice Harvesting ……………20 Chart #1: Rice Production…………………..21 Chart #2: Fertilizer Use in 1993 ………………22 Bibliography ………………………….23 The Problem: With the high and rapidly growing population of Asia, many people go hungry. How can the world support these people?; and, how can these people feed themselves? What cost will this have on the environment? What is being done to help these people. The Solution: The Green Revolution is a solution that has been at work since the 1960’s. It has been developing new and better ways at producing food. Background to the Green Revolution: The Green Revolution Started in the 1960’s by the government of the United States. The Green Revolution was started to make wheat more adaptable to different environments.

The grain was genetically engineered to grow with a shorter stock (to stop damage from wind) and the ability to grow faster so colder climates could be sure that the crop was fully grown by the cold season. Warmer climates could take advantage of these faster growing varieties by having more than one or two harvests a season. The developing countries produced a lot of waste through their cultivation techniques. They used high amounts of labor that produced waste so the developed world had machinery that they sent to the underdeveloped to stop the waste. The production of new wheat varieties has led to the green revolution spreading to Asia and the production of new rice varieties.

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Positives of the Green Revolution: Since the Green Revolution has started there have been nearly 5000 new crop strains developed. Seeds for crops such as wheat, rice, corn, and cotton have been upgraded four to six times. Farmers have saw a 50 to 130 percent rise in yield. Wheat production is about 50 times that during the 1950’s. The population of the world is rising rapidly and this may be the only way for the earth to feed ourselves.

Problems With the Green Revolution: Problems that have occurred are that the people that need the machinery cannot afford to buy clothes let alone pay for huge machines that have to be shipped in from developed countries and the shipping must be paid for. Even if the farmers could afford the machinery, they would have to be taught how to use it properly. Finding fuel, and the money to buy the fuel, in the middle of Africa, for instance, is impossible. The developed world produced the new wheat and rice varieties. To genetically engineer a new strain of food, a company or government must pay scientists (including agronomists, geneticists, biologists, chemists, nuclear scientists, space-flight scientists), fund experiments, laboratory space, and materials (to just name a few). The costs are very high so the developing world would need to pay a fair price for these new varieties. The money that the countries need to pay for the seeds and machinery is borrowed from other countries.

This borrowing does not help the developing countries but puts them, in most cases, into a deeper financial crisis. The environment also pays the price for the revolution. The new plant varieties use a lot of minerals from the ground and the soil that they grow in is being abused. The soil loses much of its minerals so a way had to be found to replace them. Fertilizers, natural and chemical, have to be used in high quantities to produce the special varieties.

The chemicals seep down into the groundwater and pollute the water to the point that it is no longer potable. Many rivers and lakes such as the Huang He River (refer to map of China) and the Ganges River (refer to map of India) have seen the effects of this problem in the late 1960’s when fish and waterfowl began dying unexpectedly. Another problem with the Green Revolution was that the new varieties, or modern cultivars, had started to make the original varieties that farmers had used for hundreds of years disappear. The amount of different types of seeds started to rapidly disappear. The modern cultivars have a major flaw. The flaw is that the varieties are insect repelling. The rice’s ability to fend off insects is a problem because the next generation of insects are able to fight this repellence and then new strains must be developed.

If the new strains are not found then insecticides must be used which also seeps into the groundwater and poisons the potable water. New varieties must be constantly found in order to fight the pests. The battle is never-ending but it is quite possible that the insects may win the battle and become immune to all types of insecticide. The Green Revolution in Asia: The countries that this report is going to look at is the growth of the Green Revolution in China, India, and a little from Viet Nam. Rice: Rice has been dated in Asia to 3000 B.C.

while rice started being cultivated in the United States from about the 1640’s when a ship that stopped while traveling to Madagascar left a 5 Kg of rice seed. This started the Carolina Rice industry. The rice plant is figure #1. Rice is grown from uplands to waterlogged fields. Figure #2 is a mountain in the Philippines where rice is grown.

Figure #3 is Deepwater rice being cultivated in Thailand. Rice Pests and Solutions: Pests take their toll on Asias’ rice production every year. About 31.5% of the rice produced in Asia is taken away by pests in the fields and also in the storage room. Root Feeders are termites and rice water weevils. They usually take their toll during a dry streak.

The mature rice water weevil does not do much damage to the plant but its larvae feeds on the roots which makes the plant small, slow to develop, and makes for a low yield. Leafhoppers and Planthoppers attack all parts of the plant to the point that the plant dies. A plant that has been attacked by Hoppers look like they have been burned. The term “hopper burn” has been given to plants that have been attacked by these pests. An example of “Hopper burn” is shown in figure P0, the brown area is “burned” while the rest of the field is hopper resistant. They also carry rice diseases such as tungro virus that can kill a whole crop.

The brown planthopper, shown in figure P1 where it can be found, transmits the grassy stunt virus. Other insects that destroy rice are stink bugs which remove the white fluid, known as milk, from the rice. The Green Revolution is relying heavily on insecticides. This approach may not be the proper way to do things. Insecticides seep down into the groundwater and spoils the potable water, while insect repelling crops do not last long before new strains of bugs come around. New ways, which are not very new, have been developed in order to deal with the pests as well as protecting the environment. Spiders live in all rice fields around the world. An important spider is the Wolf spider which feeds on all stages of rice insects.

Hoppers are the main food source of the Wolf spider. One Wolf spider can eat up to 45 hoppers per day. The Wolf spider is figure P2. Pathogens, which are bacteria, fungus, and virus groups also present a solution to the pest problem. The plants are sprayed with a fungus that is not harmful to humans.

The pests start to eat the plant and they die. Figure P3 is a Black Bug which is infected with a fungus. China: Figure #4 is Irrigated rice being harvested by hand. Every two to three years in China there is a new strain of wheat that makes it to the market. The main reason for the need of new strains is the constant threat of inse …