The aggressive Industrialisation of agriculture in the mid 20th century was contrived to ensure an increase in food production with the rapidly growing global population while ensuring farming remains a profitable business. This revolution in farming brought about by introducing new production techniques to the farming industry.
Most of these methods of production were artificial and were accomplished by humans rather than by natural forces. Moreover, these techniques emphasize on heavy use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The paradigm shift in farming was rewarding and delivered what it promised. We were able to produce more than an adequate quantity of food for consumption at affordable prices. Countries that were once plagued by famine became a food-surplus country. We celebrate the success of the industrialization of farming as a landmark in the history of human civilization.
But, this farming Industry came at a precipitous cost. The unpleasant consequence of these production activities is bear by us, the farmers, economy, nature and future generations. These farming practices are heavily criticised by the environmentalist and green politicians, Let us look at the unpleasant impact these agricultural activities:
- Herbicides and insecticides commonly used in agriculture have been associated with both acute poisoning and long-term chronic illness.
- Water pollution from fertilizer runoff contaminates downstream drinking water supplies
- Production activities are highly reliant on non-renewable resources. Machinery and transport, as well as the production of pesticides and nitrates all depend on fossil fuels. These resources are depleting at an alarming rate.
- High yield agriculture has dramatic effects on the amount of carbon cycling in the atmosphere.
- Heavy use of chemical inputs and monocultures has resulted in water scarcity, vulnerability to pests.
- Production Activities affected both agricultural biodiversity (or agro diversity) and wild biodiversity.
Social and economic impacts
- The industrialisation of agriculture led to the widespread establishment of rural credit institutions. Smaller farmers often went into debt,which in many cases results in a loss of their farmland.
- Reliance on such practices has caused incidents of violent conflict and the social marginalization of farmers in India.
- It harms the economy. In the Gulf of Mexico “dead zones” and toxic algal blooms caused by farm runoff do damage with an annual price tag in the billions.
We do have good news, this is not the only agricultural production method. We do have methods that are sustainable and far more healthy. In our future post, we are going to write more about such healthy methods of agriculture and enlighten you to lead a healthy life.