What problems were caused by the Green Revolution?

First, some background is necessary: the Green Revolution began about 50 years ago when farmers in North America and Europe began growing special ‘high yield’ varieties of wheat, rice, and maize. These varieties grew so fast and big that soon the idea was adopted in India and in other countries.

The problem with the Green Revolution is that high yield crops only give big harvests if the land is well watered and farmers use a lot of fertilizer, pesticides, and machines. Now farmers need to apply 10 times as much nitrogen fertilizer to keep the soil fertile as they did 50 years ago. This means that there is a lot more strain on the environment, but it also means that small farmers may be put in debt to the suppliers of fertilizers, pesticides, and seeds.

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