A white touch to a refreshed green revolution

News: 26th Nov, 2021 was celebrated in Anand, Gujarat as the 100th birth anniversary of Verghese Kurien, the leader of India’s ‘white revolution’. The white revolution resulted in increased incomes and the wealth of millions of cattle-owning small farmers in India, many of them women.

The Amul model, of a socio-economic enterprise, also has an immense potential to aid India’s crop-growing farmers.

Must Read: Indian Agriculture needs a Verghese Kurien
What are difference b/w Green and White revolutions?

Objective-The purpose of the green revolution was to increase the output of agriculture to prevent shortages of food. However, white revolution focussed on increased incomes of small farmers in Gujarat, not the output of milk.

Method used– The green revolution was largely a technological exercise, driven by science and the principles of efficiency. It required inputs, like chemical fertilizers, to be produced on scale and at low cost. Therefore, large fertilizer factories were set up. Large dams, irrigation systems and Monocropping were also required to make use of the inputs like water and fertiliser at scale. Thus, farms became like large, dedicated engineering factories designed to produce large volumes efficiently

Whereas, the white revolution was a socio-economic exercise driven by political leaders and principles of equity.

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Tribhuvandas Kishibhai Patel had a vision of a cooperative movement of Gujarati farmers for increasing their incomes.

Meanwhile, IRMA, or the Institute of Rural Management Anand, which Kurien had founded, convened a workshop to celebrate his 100th birth anniversary to discover what can be learned from the white revolution to increase the farmer incomes in India.

What are the insights provided by IRMA workshop?

i). Inclusion and equity in governance must be integral to the design of the enterprise. Increase in the incomes and wealth of the workers and small asset owners in the enterprise must be the purpose of the enterprise, rather than going for just the firm’s profit.

ii). The ‘social’ side of the enterprise is as important as its ‘business’ side. Therefore, the social fabric of the enterprise must be strengthened via learning and application of non-corporate methods of management.

iii). The solutions must be local, rather than global. Enterprise derives input resources from local community, and therefore its output must take care of locals. The resources in the local environment (including local workers) must be the principal resources of the enterprise.

iv). The science used in process must be practical and useable by the people on the ground. The scientists can also learn practical and useful science from people on the ground.

v). Sustainable transformations are brought about by a gradual evolution, and not by a drastic revolution.

-Large-scale farming using modern scientific methods, in USSR and USA, though achieved spectacular results but wiped out peasants and small farmers.

The top-down ownership of enterprises, whether by the state (in the Soviet model), or by remote investors (in the capitalist model) is a wrong solution.

Source: This post is based on the article “A white touch to a refreshed green revolution” published in The Hindu on 3rd Dec 2021.

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