The Green Revolution In Asia

.. cts that adapt to the current varieties. Example of Wheat production in China: Wheat-901 increased yield 39.4%. Over the past 12 years one hybrid, developed by Yuan Longping, has increased production of rice by over 240 million tons. His newest strain is expected to raise rice production by 20 to 30 per cent. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said that Yuan’s work was “a contribution to mankind as a whole.” In 1994, China’s farm output doubled the annual total from a decade before.

Region Area harvested (000 ha) Production (000 metric ton) South America 5,659 15,295 USA 1,336 8,972 Central America 552 1,929 Europe 378 2,113 Asia 130,027 485,077 Africa 7,235 15,855 World 1,456,187 529,241 Rice Production from http://www.ent.agri.umn.edu/academics/classes/ipm/ chapters/heinri ch.htm The population of China is projected to rise to 1.3 billion by the year 2000. China will have to increase grain production by 62.2 million tons per year for the next five years in order to maintain the 400 Kg needed per person to maintain a moderate nutrition level. From 1985 to 1993, the average yield rose only 54.6 million tons. At that rate there will be a 100 million ton food shortage by the year 2000. The population growth, which is 1.5% , has surpassed the rise in grain production, which is 1.34%. View chart #1 for world rice production numbers for 1994.

To go along with the grain shortfall, farmland in China is shrinking at a huge rate due to the growth of cities, desertification, and soil erosion. China is losing 540,000 hectares of farmland per year. Due to the recent awareness of the environment, the government of China has also said that seven million hectares of land must be given back to the environment and preserved for the forests and grasslands. Pollution is so bad in China that most satellites cannot take accurate pictures of certain major cities. To combat the coming food crisis, China has started a seed project where the government promotes the use of hybrid seeds and sponsors a seed bank and makes a seed market. This system will result in a chain seed industry by the end of the century that is expected to raise staple crop yields by 10%.

The system that is currently in place is China’s first national crop breed bank, it has over 300,000 species preserved. It also has a group of scientists that are working to isolate the most promising strains. A Rice Center has also been set up which cost the government 23 million yuan. There is no patent laws for crop varieties in China so piracy and plagiary have slowed new scientific developments. Some high yield seeds have been locked in safes, while farmers still plant strains from the 1970’s. The government is getting involved with the green revolution because they know that they will have to pay a lot of money for grain imports. The government also sees that the business of seed production is profitable in China, Zhongnong Seed Corporation has consolidated 52 seed marketing companies and five research institutions, and was founded in January 1996. Education is an important key in helping produce enough food for China.

A farmer education program has been set up by the Ministry of Agriculture that will be educating 8 million farmers by the year 2010. Right now the education and technical assistance that the government has set up only reaches 2% of the farming population. By the year 2010, only the farmers that pass a standard examination will be given a “green certificate” which will give the passing farmers access to contract farming projects. Chinas’ government is educating its farmers because the World Bank has reported that 23% of China’s farmland has some degree of salinization. Salinization is caused by putting salt water on a field, the water evaporates and leaves a deposit of salt on top of the soil.

After an extended period of time it is impossible to grow food on this area. Another farm related problem in China is the heavy use of fertilizers. The average per hectare rose from 1.44 tonnes in 1961 to 1.6 tonnes in 1965, 1.8 tonnes in 1970 and 1.9 tonnes in 1975. Then it took a huge jump in 1980 when it hit 2.8 tonnes and the 3.8 tonnes in 1985. View Chart #2 for world fertilizer use. Viet Nam Reclamation Projects: The per capita income of a person in Viet Nam is less than $200.

57% of the persons living in rural areas, and 27% in urban areas, are poor. 78% of the 70 million people that occupy the country live in rural areas. In Viet Nam, they are having problems with their supply with potable water. The World Bank has set up a 150 million dollar program that will basically send water throughout Viet Nam. This project will take water from different rivers and will also build a dam on the Dien Vong River, this is not expected to create any environmental problems.

The reclamation of forests in Viet Nam has been started to stop the destruction that has been reducing the forests that has been reducing at a rate of 350,000 ha/year from 1965 to 1990. A timber export ban has been set up to stop the cutting. The forest project will cost $70 million U.S. India: Produces chemicals, cut diamonds, and textiles. Untreated sewage flows down the Tapi River while factories produce thick smoke.

Most of the pollution comes from small factories which numbered 15,000 in 1950 and in 1994 the number had grown to 2 million. A plague of rats in 1994 caused the deaths of over 50 people. India has one of the largest population growth rates at 1.9%. The chemical fertilizers have also taken their toll on the environment, more than any other country. Hydropower dams have created a huge problem as well; they have flooded some of the best farmland in India. The cause of this is the governments’ inability to make decisions.

Water is a large problem. Groundwater is falling several meters per year and the people just dig their wells deeper. There is fierce competition for the control of the major waterways. Overcultivation has forced farmers to clear forests. The result of the deforestation is soil erosion.

Freeman Singh, chief of a tribe near Cherapunji puts it this way ” If there is no tree, how will the soil hold the water.” Other Facts: The world wears away 24 billion tons of topsoil a year. This is almost equal to the topsoil on the Australian wheatlands. The earths’ population of 5.7 billion could stand upright within the 576,500 hectares of Brunei with some room to spare. Grainland per person has dropped from 0.2 hectares to almost 0.1 hectares in the last 30 years. 30% of the worlds’ drylands have become deserts of some kind. 3/4 of the dry lands in Africa and North America are in some stage of desertification.

Conclusion: The Green Revolution in Asia is helping the people grow enough food to sustain the massive amounts of people that occupy the area. The Green Revolution is not just teaching people how to grow crops efficiently, but the people are also teaching the scientists the methods, such as the Wolf spider as a hopper killer, that have worked for hundreds of years. The true question is: Can the environment take the pressure that we have placed it on? The answer is probably that we will kill ourselves trying to feed ourselves. We are polluting the air, water, and the types of plants that have evolved over thousands of years are disappearing. The soil only has a little to offer but we make it give more than it can handle and then the next year ask it to give even more. At this pace there will not be anything left for anyone to breath let alone eat.

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