The increasing use of the new high-yielding varieties of cereal seeds during the past decade has undoubtedly brought about immense agricultural and social progress in the developed world. Contrary to all expectations, however, the application of these technological innovations, commonly known today as the ‘green revolution’, has not resulted in similarly favourable developments in the underdeveloped countries, particularly of South Asia, but rather seems to have shaken the economic foundation of their agricultural populations and given rise to unexpected developments. Some observers still maintain that the very momentum of the green revolution will eventually be strong enough to bring about the gradual transformation of agriculture which is an essential precondition for development. Considering the structure of the prevailing agrarian systems, however, it seems more likely that rather than improving rural conditions such a transformation will primarily benefit the already privileged farmers while bypassing the bulk of the rural people and even reducing their chances of gaining a livelihood in agriculture.
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