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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 March 2007, 08:05 GMT 09:05 UK
The limits of a Green Revolution?
Planting rice, Tipura province (Photo AP)
The lush paddy fields of India

In the second of his series, BBC World Affairs Correspondent Mark Doyle analyses the state of food production across the globe.

On his farm just outside the Punjabi city of Ludhiana in northern India, Jagjit Singh Hara showed off his collection of old photos.

One of the farmer's most prized snaps is of him with the Norwegian-American agronomist Norman Borlaug, the man popularly known as The Father of the Green Revolution.

"Here we are when we were both young men," says Mr Singh Hara with smile.

"I said to him: 'Dr Borlaug, I want to put my hand in your pocket. But I don't want to take out the dollars, I want to take out the wheat seeds you have.'"

Punjab State, the breadbasket of India, is one of the places where the Green Revolution began. It more than doubled aggregate production here of wheat and rice.

India, a country that will probably soon overtake China as the most populous nation in the world, went from being a food-aid "basket case" to being largely self-sufficient in food.

Mark Doyle interviewing Jagjit Singh Hara
Jagjit Singh Hara says India can feed the world

The benefits - and costs - of the Green Revolution in India are reflected in other parts of the developing world.

In Punjab, I was looking for clues about whether output could be boosted further to cope with the rising demand that will be required to feed a world population set to rise from 6.6 billion today to more than nine billion people by 2050.

Food output across the world increased considerably in the last four decades of the 20th Century, largely as a result of the intensive farming techniques introduced by the Green Revolution.

The new techniques involved distributing hybrid grain seeds - mainly wheat, rice and corn. The hybrids grow with a shorter stalk. This maximises the process of photosynthesis, which nourishes the grain because less energy goes into the stem.

The hybrid seeds were combined with the intensive use of fertilisers and irrigation.

Population v Production

After successfully being introduced in India, the Green Revolution was rolled out in other parts of Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. It was so successful in term