What is the need for improvement in food production?
India is a big country with a billion plus population. The country needs more and more food to feed its ever growing population. India is already an intensively farmed country. Area of land under cultivation cannot be increased beyond certain level. Hence, there is a need for various methods to improve farm yield so that food for the huge population can be made available.
Food Security: According to the 1996 World Food Summit, food security is said to exist when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. This definition not only talks about the improved availability of food but also of access of food to the masses. Moreover, this definition also harps on the safe and nutritious food which is affordable to each member of the population.
Sources of carbohydrate: Wheat, maize, millets, sorghum, etc.
Sources of protein: pulses, meat, fish, etc.
Sources of fat: Oilseeds, milk, butter, etc.
Minerals and vitamins: Vegetables, spices and fruits.
Fodder crops: Berseem, oat, sudan grass, etc.
Major activities for improvement in crop production can be classified into three groups which are as follows:
For this purpose, a crop variety is chosen which can give good yield. The crop is selected by breeding for various useful characteristics; like disease resistance, response to fertilizers, product quality and high yields. This is generally done by hybridization.
Hybridization: The crossing between genetically dissimilar plants to produce a new variety is called hybridization. Crossing can be of following types:
Genetic Modification: When a gene with a desirable character is introduced into a plant or animal, it is called genetic modification. BT cotton is a good example of genetically modified crop. Here, BT stands for Bacillus thuringiensis which is a bacteria that produces various toxins against different types of pests. Introducing the gene from BT equips cotton with an ability to ward off attacks from different types of insect pests. It helps in improving the yield of cotton.
A new variety of crop should be able to give high yield under different conditions in different areas. Some places get plenty of rainfall, while some others may not get rainfall at all. Type of soil is also different in different area, and so are climatic conditions. A new variety of crop should be able to flourish under any condition in order to gain wide acceptance among farmers.
Production practices show a wide variation among farmers in India. Some farmers have large farms while some others have very small plots. Some farmers do not have capital to buy seeds or latest farm equipments. Some farmers may have enough capital to buy high yielding varieties of seeds and latest farm equipments. Due to this there is wide variation in farming practices in India. Farming practices among Indian farmers can be divided into three types, viz. ‘no cost production’, ‘low cost production’ and ‘high cost production’.
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