During the Green Revolution, the high-yielding variety (HYV) crops that were primarily concentrated and promoted in India were wheat and rice. These two staple crops played a central role in the Green Revolution and were instrumental in significantly increasing agricultural productivity and addressing food shortages in the country.
- High-Yielding Variety Wheat: Dr. Norman Borlaug, an American agronomist and Nobel laureate, developed the high-yielding variety of wheat known as “Mexican dwarf wheat” in the 1940s. These wheat varieties had shorter stems, allowing them to allocate more energy to grain production, resulting in higher yields. The adoption of high-yielding wheat varieties played a critical role in increasing wheat production and making India self-sufficient in wheat.
- High-Yielding Variety Rice: The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines played a significant role in developing high-yielding varieties of rice. These rice varieties, known as “IR8” or “miracle rice,” were bred to have shorter stems and respond well to fertilizers, resulting in significantly higher rice yields. The introduction of high-yielding rice varieties was a game-changer for rice production in India and helped boost overall agricultural productivity.
The successful adoption of high-yielding varieties of wheat and rice was accompanied by the widespread use of modern agricultural practices, including the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and improved irrigation methods. These practices, combined with the genetic improvements of HYVs, contributed to substantial increases in crop yields, making India self-sufficient in food production and transforming the country from a food-deficit nation to a food-surplus one.
While wheat and rice were the main focus during the initial phase of the Green Revolution, similar high-yielding varieties were later developed for other crops, such as maize, millets, and pulses, to further enhance agricultural productivity and food security in India.