JICA Research Institute

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Working Papers

No.17 The Green Revolution and Its Significance for Economic Development —The Indian Experience and Its Implications for Sub-Saharan Africa—

India has experienced rapid economic growth, especially since the full scale economic liberalization of the early 1990s. The emphasis in this paper, however, is the critical importance of the preceding decade, when the Indian agriculture sector was registering a high growth rate. India attained food self-sufficiency by the end of the 1970s by virtue of the first wave of the Green Revolution, but it was the second wave that contributed significantly to increased rural incomes and consequently to the economic development of the country overall. During the 1980s, this second wave washed over the whole of India, buoying a large number of individual crops, including rice. The improvement it brought in rural incomes led to an expansion of the market for non-agricultural products and services, bringing in turn rapid development of the non-agricultural sector. The 1980s also was a critical decade in which a wide divergence opened between the prospects for economic development in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The main implication of this situation for sub-Saharan Africa is that improvement in rural incomes through productivity growth in agriculture is essential for the success of industrialization-based economic development.

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