The food we eat keeps us strong and healthy. Food provides us nutrients and energy that we need for the proper functioning and growth of the body. As human beings are incapable of synthesizing food, we depend on plants and animals for our food. The population has reached its peak. The population explosion has led to greater demand for basic requirements such food, shelter, clothing, etc. Another impact of population on food crops production is land exploitation. Thus, cultivation has been limited to a small area. In order to meet the demands with limited resources, we need to apply a greater effort. Crop variety improvement, crop production improvement and crop protection management are three major ways to improve food crops production.
Let’s learn more about crop variety improvement.
Food Crops- Crop Variety Improvement
Crop variety improvement is the primary step to improve food crop production. Development of crop variety with desirable traits is the goal of this method. The list of desirable traits includes high yields, disease resistance, quality product and response to fertilizers. We can raise different strains of food crops with desirable traits naturally as well as scientifically. Two of them are as follows:
Hybridization: The crossing of genetically dissimilar plants is referred to as hybridization. Hybridization may take place between different varieties(intervarietal), between two different species of the same genus(interspecific) or between different genera (intergeneric).
Gene Incorporation: Genes are responsible for the traits. Thus, we can improve a crop’s quality and quantity by incorporating the genes with desirable traits. This method is more scientific and results in genetically modified food crops.
Crop production is more like a business in many countries. Thus, the strains we develop must be economically profitable. The new varieties should be able to produce maximum quality and quantity under different conditions and regions. Hence, we need to be very selective about seeds for its acceptance.
Why Variety Improvement?
We know resources are very limited but demands are very high. Thus, the basic reason for variety improvement is to meet the requirements. However, the quality and quantity of the crop produced shouldn’t be compromised due to the limited resource and present scenario. This is why scientist developed different varieties. The different strains should be able to show maximum productivity under any diverse condition. This leads to the idea of improvement of food crops variety. The variety improvement is done for the following reasons.
Higher yield: Crop variety improvement’s main goal is to increase the productivity of the crop. To develop high yielding variety.
Quality product: To improve the quality of the food crops. The quality of crop depends on the type of crop. Considering the pulses and grains, they must have good baking quality. Oil crops should give a quality oil.
Resistance: To develop resistance to both living and non-living factors. Biotic factors like insects, parasites, diseases, etc. and abiotic factors like hot, cold, drought, salinity, etc. affect the crop production. Resistant variety can withstand these factors and give a high yield.
Maturity period: To shorten and to develop uniform maturity period. The short maturity period of crops helps farmers in multiple rounds of cultivation in less expenditure during a short period. Also, the uniform maturity of crops helps in easy harvesting. Thus, overall variety improvement makes the situation more profitable.
Adaptation: To develop tolerance and make crops more adaptable to different conditions. The crops can be grown even in diverse conditions. For example, crops with tolerance to high salinity soil.
Desirable agronomic characteristics: To develop desired agronomic characters in crops. This helps in a higher yield in less expenditure. For example, dwarfness in cereals helps to reduce the nutrient consumption without affecting the yield.
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