After Harming Punjab, The Green Revolution Is Making Farmers Poorer In Sub-Saharan Africa

By Dr. Sawraj Singh

It took many years to become aware of the damage to Punjab by the Green Revolution. In the sixties and the seventies, many people thought that the Green Revolution succeeded in Punjab and Punjab made a lot of progress as a result. They felt that the Green Revolution brought prosperity to Punjab. Now, we know that the economic benefits of the Green Revolution were limited to the rich farmers only, and overall, the Green Revolution has done tremendous damage to Punjab.

In reality, the Green Revolution turned out to be an alliance of the U.S. with the rich peasantry of Punjab. The rich farmers became integrated with the world capitalist order and were transformed into the capitalist class. This is the only class which has benefitted from the Green Revolution. It has monopolized all of the institutions of Punjab, political, economic, social, religious and educational. For the rest of the people and overall for Punjab, it has proved harmful. Punjab has become a neo-colony and a bastion of consumer culture. Punjab has become socially unstable and has suffered tremendous environmental damage. Very few people now believe that the Green Revolution was a boon for Punjab.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         In sub-Saharan Africa, the ill effects of the Green Revolution became apparent right away. The Green Revolution is hurting poor people. It has only helped a small minority of affluent farmers who can afford the new varieties of seeds, new implements, and expensive fertilizers and pesticides. The poor farmers are losing their lands and are becoming landless. The poor farmers are becoming poorer. The only beneficiaries are the rich elite and the multinational corporations who are backing them. It is obvious that the development under the western capitalist model of development of Globalization is helping only a few and is widening the gap between the rich and the poor. The policies which were supposed to alleviate poverty are aggravating the problem. The Green Revolutions are an extension of Globalization. There is nothing unique in them, they are another tool in the hands of the imperialists and the multinational corporations to rob and enslave the poor.

Why did it take so many years to understand that the Green Revolution did so much damage to Punjab, whereas the reality of the Green Revolutions stands exposed in Africa right away? The main reason is that the real face of Globalization is completely exposed now. The bitter truth is that once capitalism changed to imperialism, it became parasitic. In other words, the prosperity of the western imperialist countries is mainly dependent upon the looting and exploitation of the third world countries. The imperialist countries are mainly robbing these countries by uneven exchange. The multinationals and their allies in these countries, such as the rich peasants, who are incorporated into the capitalist class, are forcing the poor peasants, who form a big majority of the population in these countries, are ultimately robbed of their only possession, their land. Globalization is the highest state of imperialism and the looting and exploitation of people of the Third World has reached its peak now. It has become so obvious that it is difficult to hide. This is the main reason that the reality of the so-called Green Revolution has become so apparent today and does not need many years to understand.

I am so appalled by our people and sometimes by our intellectuals, including some pseudo-leftists, who admire the western imperialist countries for providing benefits to their citizens. They are completely forgetting that these benefits are being extended by robbing and exploiting the people of the Third World. The western imperialists are robbing Peter to pay Paul. What is so great in this?

I have to commend intellectuals like Neil Dawson in Anglia University, England, for exposing the truth about the Green Revolutions. I sincerely hope that our intellectuals will come out of their slavish mentality toward the West and start seeing its true face. Instead of showering praises on the western imperialists, they should help our people to understand their true nature. For too long, many Punjabi intellectuals have failed to understand what the Green Revolution really did to Punjab. We should all thank Neil Dawson for enlightening us about the reality of the Green Revolutions as well as helping us to understand the true motives of globalization, which is only helping the multinational corporations and the rich and is widening the gap between the rich and the poor.

It is also becoming clear that the capitalist model of development has failed and needs an alternative model of development which is based upon universal concern and universal welfare. Instead of the current globalization, we need the concept of a true global community.

Instead of the Green Revolutions based upon only modernizing agriculture and on the extensive use of chemical fertilizers and insecticides, we need environmentally sound development such as organic farming, which is safe for people’s health.

Each country should evolve its own model of development based upon the historical experience of its people as well as the different conditions in that country. We cannot apply one model (capitalist model) of development to all countries. Basically, we need a pro-nature and pro-people model of development. Sri Guru Granth Sahib has an alternate model of development based upon universal concern and universal welfare and it is pro-nature and pro-people.

Dr. Sawraj Singh, MD F.I.C.S. is the Chairman of the Washington State Network for Human Rights and Chairman of the Central Washington Coalition for Social Justice. He can be reached at sawrajsingh@hotmail.com.

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