Nov 09 - 15, 2009

Green revolution refers to a complex package of technology to improve productivity of seeds of wheat and rice etc and a wide range of management practices in the field.

The new plant types show a strong positive response of fertilizer that is made possible with high leaf area index, short stature, high grain yield, and stiff straw that resists lodging, diseases resistance, less weeding, appropriate spacing of plants etc.

One of the finest Pakistan's success stories of post independence era has been the green revolution of early sixties through the uses of Mexi-Pak wheat and IRRI-rice varieties, which turned the country from a chronic importer of food grains into an exporter of some essential food-items.

Green revolution has been instrumental in significant enhancement of wheat and rice productions. The newly developed early maturing and high yielding dwarf varieties of wheat and rice during 1960 helped in increasing the production of food-grains significantly thus giving great relief to the rapid increasing population.

This phenomenon has successfully led to massive transformation in the rural agrarian economy, which came about through the collaborative efforts of farmers, agriculturists, researchers, planners, backed up with necessary administrative and political support.

Since independence in 1947, while the population increased manifold food grain production increased many times. From a mere million ton during 1960-65, food grains production in Pakistan increased to an estimated many thousands million tons in 2007-08 and productivity increased from 500 kg/ha to more than 2500 kg/ha of cereal crops. Similarly, rice yield was also increased from merely a few million ton in 1960 to million tons during 1965-1970.


Green revolution was the notable increase in cereal grains production in Mexico, Pakistan, India, the Philippines and other developing countries in the years 1960s-1970s.

This trend was a result of introduction of hybrid strains of wheat, rice, and corn and the adaptation of modern technologies, including irrigation and heavy doses of chemical fertilizer.

Green revolution was launched by research establishments in Mexico and the Philippines that were funded by the governments, international donor organizations, and the US government.

The International Centre for Improvement of Maize and Wheat (CIMMYT) was established in Mexico in 1943 for doing research works for the development and improvement of varieties of wheat and maize crops and introducing improved agricultural practices to farmers.

The leader of the Mexican research team, a US agronomist Dr. Norman Borlaug (born 1914, Iowa, USA) who did PhD in 1942 from Minnesota University, was hired in 1944 to run the wheat research programme in CIMMYT, Mexico.

Dr.Borlaug, with a team of some 1940 young scientists from sixteen countries, while working in scientific research on genetics, plant breeding, plant pathology, entomology, agronomy, soil science, and cereal technology developed varieties of wheat that grew well in various climatic conditions and benefited from heavy doses of chemical fertilizer.

Within twenty years, Dr. Borlaug was spectacularly successful in finding high-yielding semi-dwarf, disease-resistant wheat that grows in different environmental conditions.

Mexico, which previously had to import wheat, became a self-sufficient in cereal-grain production and also became its exporter by 1963. This breakthrough in Mexico resulted in the breeding of short-stemmed wheat that grew to lesser heights than other wheat varieties. Tall plants tending both to shade their neighbors from sunlight and that topple over before harvesting uniformly short stalks grow more evenly and are easier to harvest. The Mexican dwarf wheat was first released to farmers in 1961 and resulted in a doubling of the average yield.

Dr. Borlaug described the twenty years from 1944 to 1964 as the silent revolution that set the stage for more dramatic green revolutions to follow. With further development, the green revolution spread to parts of Asia and Latin America. It did enable a number of developing countries to emerge out of the hunger trap.

Agricultural scientists promoted the technology cultivating the water guzzling high-yielding varieties of wheat (the same technology was subsequently applied to rice), application of chemical fertilizers, and pesticides.

Green revolution was based on years of painstaking scientific research, but when it was deployed in the field, it yielded dramatic results, nearly doubling wheat production in a few years.


In 1962, a devastating famine had threatened Pakistan and India. The United Nations requested Dr. Borlaug to visit the subcontinent to try to persuade governments to import the new varieties of wheat from Mexico.

Not until 1965, Borlaug was able to overcome governments reluctance to the relatively unfamiliar crop and its foreign seeds and brought in hundreds of tons of seed to jump start production.

According to the program, Dr. Borlaug organized a shipment of 35 truckloads of dwarf wheat seeds from Mexico to Pakistan and 18,000 tons wheat seeds to India. He managed to sow the Mexican dwarf varieties or varieties derived from them in the demonstration plots in different farm fields in both countries.

New production technologies such as a greater reliance on chemical fertilizers and pesticides and the drilling of thousands of wells for controlled irrigation were also introduced. Surprisingly the results were phenomenal and Pakistan's wheat production nearly doubled in five years from 4.6 million tons in 1965 to 8.4 million tons making the country self-sufficient by 1968. Similarly, India went from 12.3 million tons of wheat in 1965 to 20 million tons in 1970.

The extra food produced by the green revolution was generally considered to have averted famine in Pakistan and India. These collective increases in wheat yields have been labeled as 'The Green Revolution'.

The success of the green revolution was also attributed to the fact that many of the host countries such as Mexico, Pakistan, India, etc. had relatively stable governments and fairly well-developed infrastructures. These factors permitted these countries to diffuse both the new seeds and technology and to bring the products to market in an effective manner. Government of Pakistan awarded Sitara-e-Imtiaz to Dr. Norman Borlaug in 1968.

The social and economic achievements of this new development were recognized worldwide when the Noble Peace Prize was awarded to Norman Borlaug in 1970.

In addition to the Noble Peace Prize, Dr. Borlaug has also received extensive recognition from universities and organizations in six countries: Mexico, Pakistan, India, Canada, Norway, and the United States.

He was honored with many other awards from different countries. Dr. Norman Borlaug, the father of green revolution passed away on 12th September, 2009 in Texas, USA at the age of 95.

Wheat cultivars cultivated in Pakistan from Post Independence up-to-date


Phase 1 - Some of the crossed wheat genotypes possessing various desirable characters such as disease resistance, early maturity were: Inia-66,C-227, C-228, C-591, C-271, C-273, C-518, Mexi-Pak-65, T-1, WF-51, H-68, Dirk, P-165, K-309, Sonora-64, Pak-70, Indus-66, Norteno, Nayab, Pari-73, Chenab-70 etc.

Phase 2 - Furthermore, more wheat varieties developed were (1972-81): Pak-70, Barani-70, Nayab, Yecora, Nuri, ZA-76, TJ-75, P-89, P-92, M-5, Quetta-1, 2,4, W-711, Pavon, Sonalika, Pak-81, Punjab-81, Juhuar-78,V8,V9, Indus-5, S-175 etc.

Phase 3 - From the 1980 and up to date the prominent wheat cultivars in use in all four provinces were: FSD-85, Shalimar-88, Bhawalpur-97, Chakwal-97, Inqilab-91, Kohistan-97, MH-97, Punjab-96, Kohsar-96, M.H.97, Margalla-98, Uqaib-2000, Chenab-2000, Abadgar-93, LUs-26, Mehran-95, Jauhar-95, Sarsabz, DS-17, Soghat, Kiran-95, Sindh-95, Imdad, Marvi-2000, Khirman, Nishtar, Tatra, Bakhtawar, Fakhr Sarhad, Nowshera-98, Azri-96, Zardana, Quetta-96 etc.



50-55 37.1 3259.7 780 4161.2
55-60 41.77 3669.5 778 4716.8
60-65 50.74 4159.8 831 5000.3
65-70 62.63 5713.3 979 5763.0
70-75 71.29 7221 .1 1291 5934.0
75-80 82.58 9391.0 1444 6491.8
80.85 96.18 11555.6 1596 7241.2
85-90 112.05 13469.7 1774 7598.4
90-95 128.56 15724.4 1951 8058.5
95-00 141.07 18273.6 2196 8306.6
03-04 152.43 19992.0 2445 8176.0
05-06 160.47 23200.0 2745 8450.0
09-10 177.89 25300.0 3019 8380.0
2010 182.42 26760.0 3500 8500.0
2015 210.40 30600.0 4000 8500.0
2020 235.79 34420.0 4500 8500.0


About 120 countries in the world produce wheat. Presently, wheat is sown on 220 million hectares (1 hectare=2.471 acre) around the world with 631.3 million tons production, with average of 2906 kg grain per hectare.

China produces 99 million tons, followed by India (78 million tons), USA (60 million tons), Russians Federation (47 million tons), France (37 million tons), Canada (26 million tons), Australia (25 million tons), Germany (24 million tons), Turkey (23.3 million tons), and Pakistan (23.0 million tons). These countries produce almost 68% of the total world wheat. Pakistan share in world production is about 4%, and it stands at 10th position and 59th in acreage.

Yield (Kg/ha) in different countries - France: 7200, UK: 6678, USA: 4567, China: 3945, India: 2896, Mexico: 2748, Pakistan: 2354.

The other countries benefited from green revolution were India, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, China, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Malaysia, Morocco, Thailand, Turkey, Tunisia etc.


Development of modern rice farming - During 1950 and 1960 the rapidly growing world population caused great concern about the availability of sufficient food to forestall massive starvation.

In 1960, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) was established in Manila, Philippines with the help of USA. It was an educational and research centre dedicated and devoted principally to study and improvement of rice, the world's major food crop.

Today, IRRI has grown to be a premix agricultural research centre in the world of rice breeding. The program was initiated in Manila similar to wheat program adopted in Mexico.

Renowned world rice breeders/scientists crossed thirty-eight different breeds of rice to create a rice variety named IR-8, which doubled yields in rice growing countries of the world and later known as "Miracle Rice" and named IRRI-8.

The characteristics of the varieties were improved grain quality, disease resistance, pest resistance, fertilizer responsiveness, and shortened growing periods.

By the end of the 20th century more than 60% of the world's rice fields were planted with varieties developed by International Rice Research Institute at Manila.

In addition to Mexico, Pakistan, India, and the Philippines other countries also benefited from the rice green revolution. These include Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, China, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Malaysia, Morocco, Thailand, Tunisia, and Turkey.

Green revolution contributed to the overall economic growth of these nations by increasing incomes of farmers, use of electricity, and consumer's goods and thus increasing the pace and the volume of trade and commerce.


Government of Pakistan procured IR-8 rice variety from the Philippines and this rice variety doubled the rice grain in the country in 1967-68. During 1948-49, the production of rice in the country was 0.693 million tons which increased to nearly 5.9 million tons in 2007-08 growing on area of 2.45 mha with average yield of 2442 kg/hectare.

Pakistan is the world's fifth largest rice exporter and this earns the country prominent foreign exchange. The Basmati rice (which means fragrance of a virgin girl) is the main exportable rice.

Rice varieties used in the country from 1960 - to date: Kangani-27, Ganja, Pokkali, Sugdasi, IR-8, IR-8-5, IR-6, IR-9, ER-20, IR-22, IR-841,†Bangalo, Sonahri, Sada Gulab, Dokri Basmati, Basmati-370, Basmati-385, Jajai-77, Shadab, KS-282, Super Basmati, Shaheen Basmati, Kashmir Basmati, Shua-92, Sharshar etc.

Rice growing areas: Lahore, Sialkot, Kasur, Multan, Gujranwala, Mandi Bahuddin, Okara, Pak Patan, Khushab, Faisalabad, Sahiwal, Sarghoda, Kasur, Jhelum, Dadu, Dokri, Larkana, Hyderabad, etc.


1) China 182, 2) India 131, 3) Indonesia 95, 4) Bangladesh 35, 5) Myanmar 22, 6) Thailand 26, 7) Vietnam 25, 8) Cambodia 19, 9) Philippines 15, 10) Brazil 11) Japan 12) Pakistan (5.9).

World rice production is about 600 million tons and area 170 million hectares. Japan has 6.5 tons yield per hectare and China 5.1 tons. There are other countries in the world that have rice yields in tons on per hectare.