Agricultural biodiversity and food security of India

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Agricultural biodiversity and food security of India

Contributed by: Shwetank Verma, India Coordinator - Project Brahma/Biodiversity of India

The Green Revolution and the events after that made India self-sufficient in food security. Thanks to the new tools provided by science and technologies our annual grain produce is scaling new highs every year. Since the Green Revolution, new rice varieties have been introduced in Indian fields which are slowly replacing the traditionally grown rice varieties. Year after year, high yielding rice varieties are being preferred over the traditional native verities in our fields. During Vedic period approximately 4,00,000 varieties of rice existed in India, many of them still exist in India[citation needed]. Some unconfirmed reports suggest that out of so many varieties consumption of rice in India is limited to about just 10 varieties[citation needed].

This uncontrolled and unplanned expansion of a few high yielding rice varieties will eventually lead to drastic reduction in biodiversity of food grains in our fields. Loss of biodiversity can have its own far fetching impact on our food security. Our country’s food grain biodiversity is becoming more and more susceptible to pathogen attacks. For example, in the 1970s when rice grassy stunt virus infected rice fields of India, 6,273 varieties of Indian rice were tested for their sensitivity to this virus. Only one Indian variety that was Oryza nivara, growing near Gonda, in Uttar Pradesh [1] was found to be resistant to this virus, which was later used to make hybrid resistant varieties which are in propagation now [2][3]. Examples of other agricultural disasters are Irish potato famine in 1842 – 1845 and Coffee rust attack in 1970. Irish potato famine was caused disease potato blight and it wiping out 25% of Ireland’s population. Coffee rust whipped out the coffee plantations in Sri Lanka, Brazil, and Central America [1][3]. Collapse of European wine industry in 19th century and US Southern Corn Leaf Blight epidemic of 1970 were the result of loss of agricultural biodiversity[2]. Preference of high yielding varieties is leading our fields to monoculture which can be a major contributing factor to such agricultural disasters, threatening our food security.

Also see

Additional media

Irish Potato Famine A documentary on agricultural biodiversity Biodiversity agriculture


  1. ^ a b Ruminations on rice Accessed: Feb 10, 2012
  2. ^ a b Wikipedia article on Biodiversity Accessed: Feb 10, 2012
  3. ^ a b Benefits of biodiversity Accessed: Feb 10, 2012


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Semantic tags

Title Agricultural biodiversity and food security of India Article is on this general topic Biodiversity and environment Author Shwetank Verma
Specific location(s) where study was conducted Not noted General region where study was conducted Not noted State where study was conducted Pan-India
Institutional affiliation Not noted Institution located at Not noted Institution based around Not noted
Species Group Plants User ID User:Shwetankverma Page creation date 2011/11/01

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