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Improvement in Food Resources

What are the nutrients we get from food?

Nutrients are the essential substance that requires for body development, growth, and body health. The right quantity of all nutrients is required for a healthy body. The following are the nutrient we get from food:

  • Proteins
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Fibers

What is food security?

Food security means reliable access to sufficient nutrient food for all the populations for all the years.

What do we need food security?

India is nowadays facing malnutrition problem, food security is the only way to solve the malnutrition and hunger problems 

How do you ensure food security?

Food security depends on both the availability of food and access to it. For food security, the supply side of the food and demand side of foods needs to address.

  • In the supply side, we can address food security by:
    • Increasing food grain production
    • Sufficient maintenance of food grains in warehouse
  • In the demand side, we can address food security by:
    • Improvement of people's income to avails or access food products.

How can India increase food grain production to ensure food security?

India is already intensively cultivated that means we do not have scope to increase the areas of land under cultivation. Hence, the only way to increase food grains production is to increase production efficiency in both crops and livestock production.
We have already increased the food grains production four times( 4 times) from 1952 to 2010 with a 25 % increase in cultivation areas through various agricultural revolution such as green revolution for food production and white revolution for milk production.
Our natural resources are getting used more intensively by these revolutions. As a result, it is harming our environment and destroying the balance of nature.

How can we stop damaging the environment?

The only way to increase the food grains production without degrading our environment is the sustainable practices in agriculture and animal husbandry.

How to stop hunger problems in India?

The majority of our population depends on agriculture for their livelihood. Increasing the income of people working in agriculture is necessary to combat the problem of hunger.
The following way to increase the income of the farmer:

  • Scientific management practices to obtain high yields form farms.
  • For sustainable income all over the year, the farmer should  practice:
    • Mixed cropping
    • Intercropping
    • An integrated farming practice that combines agriculture with livestock, poultry, fisheries, and beekeeping.

How can farmers increase crop yields

The following three major groups of activities are required to improve crop yield:

  • Crop Variety improvement
  • Crop production improvement
  • Crop protection improvement

Crop Variety improvement

Crop variety should be chosen wisely which gives high yield to their agriculture field. Crop variety can be improved with the incorporation of the desired character in two ways:

  • Hybridization
  • Genetically Modified (GM) crops

What is Hybridization? 

It refers to the cross-polarization of genetically dissimilar plants, between the same varieties or different species of the same genes or between different genes. 

What are genetically modified crops?
Improving the crop yield by introducing agene from any species that would provide the desired characteristics.

What are the desired characteristics of the selection of crop seeds?

  • Resistance to diseases
  • Maturity Duration
  • Climate adaptability or wider adaptability
  • Improved quality or high nutrition
  • Desired economic characteristics
  • High yield
  • Response to fertilizers

Resistance to diseases:

Crops should be the resistance from biotic and abiotic resistance. Both biotic and abiotic diseases can down crop production.

  • Biotic diseases of crops are:
    • Nematodes
    • Insect attack 
  • Abiotic diseases of crops are:
    • Drought
    • Salinity
    • Waterlogging
    • Heatwave
    • Cold frost

Maturity Duration:

Farmers can get more economic benefits if they choose the shorter duration of the crop from sowing to harvesting. Such a shorter duration of crops allows the farmer to grow multiple rounds of crops in a year. It reduces:

  • Cost of crop production
  • Reduces losses during harvesting

Climate adaptability or wider adaptability:

Wider adaptability of crops will help in stabilizing crop production under different environmental conditions. It will minimize the adverse effect of climate change.

Improved quality:

Quality consideration of crops products varies from crops to crops. The following are some examples of the desired quality of the following crops:

  • Wheat: Baking quality
  • Pulses: Desire Higher Protein 
  • Oilseed: Oil quality
  • Fruits and vegetables: Preserving qualities

Desired economic characteristics:

  • For cereals: Dwarfness is desired so that they consume fewer nutrients from the soil and give a high yield.
  • For fodder crops: Tallness and many branching of crops are desired.

Crop Production Management

Land, Money, knowledge, and access to information and technologies vary from farmer to farmer. For higher yield, high technology advancement and high input cost inputs are needed. For that money is needed. Farm practice and agricultural technology adaptation in agriculture are dependants on the money. There are three levels of crop management on the basis of the expenditure:

  • No cost production
  • Low-cost production
  • High-cost production

What is nutrient management?
Overall management of nutrients to the plants comes under nutrient management. As we human beings need food for development and for a healthy life, plants also require nutrients for growth.
There is three-way to supply nutrients to plants:

  • Air: Carbon, Oxygen, and Co2 are supplied by air.
  • Water: Plants get Hydrogen from water
  • Soil: Plants get approximate 13 types of nutrients or minerals such as nitrogen, phosphorus from soil.

There are two types of Nutrients:

  • Macro-nutrients
  • Micro-nutrients

The nutrients that require in large quantities to the growth of the plants. The following nutrients are called macronutrients: Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, and Sulphur.
The nutrients that require in small quantities to the plants. For example, Iron, Magnesium, boron, zinc, copper, chlorites, Molybdenum.

Deficiency of these nutrients affect the plants in the following ways:

  • Reproduction
  • Plant growth
  • Susceptibility to the disease.
  • For higher yield, the soil should be enriched by nutrients.

What is Manure?

Manure contains large quantities of organic matter and also supplies small quantities of nutrients to the soil.
Manure is prepared by decomposition of animal excreta and plant waste.

What are the benefits of manure?

  • Helps in enriching soil with organic matter and nutrients
  • It increases the soil fertility
  • It changes the soil structure
  • It increases the water-holding capacity of sandy soils and other soil.
  • It avoids the waterlogging
  • It is environment-friendly, no harm to the environment by using it. 
  • It reduces the waste from land as it is made by the recycling of waste.

What are the types of manure?

There are three types of manure based on the way of preparation:

  • Compost
  • Vermicompost
  • Green manure

Compost manure
Waste materials like livestock excreta or cow dung, vegetable waste, domestic waste, sewage waste, crop residues, eradicated weeds decomposed in Pits is called composting or compost manure.

VermicompostIf the compost is prepared by Earthworm, then it is called vermicompost. Earthworm increases the rate of decomposition of plants and animal excreta.

Green Manure

Prior to the sowing of crop seed, some plants like Sunai or Guar are grown. These pants are mulched by plowing them into the soil. Nitrogen and phosphorus are enriched by Green manure.

What are fertilizers?

The plant's nutrients that are commercially produced by industry are called fertilizer. Fertilizer supplies nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to plants and ensures healthy vegetable growth and gives high productivity.
Fertilizers should be applied carefully in the proper doses and proper time. 

What are the disadvantages of fertilizer?

  • Excess use of fertilizer in crops can pollute the water
  • Fertilizer destroys soil fertility
  • Organism matter not present in the fertilizer
  • Microorganisms in the soil get harmed by fertilizer.
  • Fertilizer gives only short term benefits but harm in the long run but manure gives long term benefits to the soil.

What is organic farming?

Organic farming is a farming system with minimum and no use of chemical fertilizers, chemical herbicides, and chemical pesticides. 
In the organic system:

  • Organic manures such as compost, vermicompost, and green manure.
  • Biofertilizer made up of blue-green algae are used
  • Neem leaves and turmeric also used as bio-pesticides
  • Use of healthy cropping systems such as mixed cropping, intercropping, and crop rotation. It benefits in insect, pest, and weed control.

What is Mixed cropping?

Growing two or more crops simultaneously on the same piece of land.
For examples:

  • Wheat + Gram
  • Wheat + Mustard
  • Groundnut + Sunflower

Mixed crops give some insurance against the failure of one crop.

What is inter-cropping?
Growing two or more crops simultaneously on the same field in a definite pattern. A few rows of one crop alternative with a few rows of second crops.
For example:

  • Soybean + Maize

Crops are selected such as their nutrients requirements are different. This will ensure the maximum utilization of nutrients supplied by soils.
It also prevents pests and diseases from spreading to all plants belonging to the same crop. This will help the benefits of both crops.

What is crop rotation?
The growth of different crops on a piece of land in pre-planned succession is known as crop rotation. The availability of moisture and irrigation facilities decides the choice of crops to cultivated after one harvest. If crop rotation is done properly, two or more crops can be grown in the year with a good harvest.

Crop protection management

The crop will be lost if weeds, pests, and insects are not controlled at the appropriate time.

Weeds are unwanted plants around the crops. They compete for food, space, and sunlight and take up nutrients & reduce the growth of plants.
Weeds can be controlled by the following  methods:

  • Mechanical removal
  • Preventive methods; proper seedbed preparation.
  • Timely sowing of crops
  • Intercropping & crop rotation system
  • Summer plowing; plowed deep in summer to destroy the root of weeds.
  • Can control by pesticides

Insect attacks the plants in three ways:

  • They cut the plant root
  • They suck the cell from various parts of plants
  • They bore into stem and fruits

Diseases caused by pathogens such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses. It can be transmitted by air, water, and soil.

What are pesticides and what are types of pesticides?
Weed, insect, and diseases control by pesticides.
These are three types of pesticides:

  • Herbicides
  • Insecticides
  • Fungicides

What are the factors responsible for the loss of grains in storage?
There are two types of factors responsible for losses:

  • Biotic components:
    • Insects
    • Rodents
    • Fungi
    • Mites
    • bacteria
  • Abiotic components:
    • Moistures
    • Temperatures
    • Grains loss can be the following forms:
    • Degradation in quality
    • Loss in weight
    • Poor germination
    • Discoloration
It can be prevented by the :

  • Strict cleaning of the produces before storage, proper drying
  • Proper shed building
  • Using chemical fumigation

What are the sources of carbohydrates?

From carbohydrates, we get energy for our bodies. Carbohydrates we get from Cereals such as Wheat, Rice, Maize, Millets

What are the sources of protein?

Proteins are necessary for bodybuilding and development. The vegetable sources of protein are pulses such as Gram( Chana), Pea (Matar), Black Gram(Urad), Green Gram( Moong), Pigeon pea(Arhar), and lentil(Masoor).

What are the sources of Fat?

Fats are required for energy. Fats we get from oilseed such as Soyabean, Groundnut, Seasame, Mustard, and Sunflower.

From vegetables, we get vitamins and minerals.

What are the fodder crops?
The following are the fodder crops:

  • Berseem
  • Oats: raised for both food and fodder.
  • Sudangrass

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