IMPROVEMENT OF FOOD RESOURCES

  1. Crop production
  2. Organic farming
  3. Sustainable development
  4. Manure and its types
  5. Fertilizers
  6. Plant breeding
  7. Hybridisation
  8. Crop rotation Mixed farming
  9. Disease control

India is the second most popular country in the world with 1.04 billion people. To feed this much population we will need about 241 million tonnes of grain production every year. In this respect earlier effort of our scientists is to increase the production of food that results green revolution (food grains), blue revolution (fish production), white revolution (milk revolution) yellow revolution (oil production).

Crop production

Crops are the plants that grow in the groups or community on the larger area. Agriculture is an applied branch of biology that deals with the mass production of plants and animals useful to human being. 

All living organisms need food for their existence. They need food for their growth, repair of tissues, energy and also protection against diseases. The various components of food are proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, roughage and water.

For successful crop production a thorough understanding of how crops develop and grow, the various factors that affect crop growth and development and how each factor can be modified or managed are essential. The various factors that affect crop growth and development and how each factor can be modified or managed are essential. The following are some of the factors that if managed well will help in increasing crop production: Nutrients, Water & Protection of Crops.

EFFECTS OF MODERN AGRICULTURE

The word agriculture comes from the Latin words ager, referring to the soil and cultura, to its cultivation. Agriculture, in its widest sense can be defined as the cultivation and or production of crop plants or livestock products. Field depend on production of food, fodder, and industrial organic material. Modern agriculture includes Agribusiness, Industrial agriculture, Organic farming and Sustainable agriculture.

Efficient marketing of food grains plays an important role in solving the problem of hunger. If marketing system is not efficient, price signals arising at the consumer’s level are not adequately transferred to the producers, as a result farmers do not get sufficient price. Agricultural marketing plays a role in modern agriculture and economic development.

  • Organic farming systems do not use toxic agrochemical inputs; instead they are based on development of biological diversity and the maintenance and replenishment of soil productivity. It describes two major aspects
  • Substitution of manures, farm organic resources and bio-fertilizers of inorganic fertilizers
  • Biological pest, disease, and weed management instead of chemical control

Modern Agriculture has become more relay on chemical fertilizers for increasing crop yields. The use of chemicals has spoilt the land, soil and water. Depletion of soil fertility and high prices of chemical fertilizers has forced farmers, to use bio fertilizer azolla

SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE

Sustainable agriculture can be defined as that form of agriculture aimed at meeting the food and fuel needs of the present generation without endangering the resource base for the future generation.

It is an efficient management system if renewable resources including soil, forest, crops, fish, livestock, biodiversity, and ecosystems without degradation, to provide adequate food and other needs for the current and the future generation. The effects of modern agriculture on sustainable agriculture as follows

  • Soil and water conservation to prevent degradation of soil productivity and lengthening of crop
  • Efficient use of limited irrigation water to avoid problems of soil salinity, alkalinity, and high groundwater table
  • Integrated nutrient management
  • Integrated plant protection that reduced the effects of modern agriculture
  • Management systems to control weeds by preventive measures

To maintain the soil fertility, deficiency of plant nutrients and organic matter in the soil is made by adding regular doses of nutrients in the form of manures and chemical fertilizers.

Manures

Manures are organic materials added to the soil to increase soil fertility and crop production. They are biological in origin.

  • The organic matter content is bulky and large and the nutrient content is small.
  • They are partially decomposed through the action of m/o.

ADVANTAGES

  • They supply nutrients to the soil. Since the manures contain nutrients in small quantities they have to be used in bulk.
  • Since the manure contains a lot of organic matter, it increases the water holding capacity in sandy soils and drainage in clayey soils.
  • Organic manures provide food for soil organisms like earthworms which are responsible for improving soil quality.

FUNCTIONS OF MANURE

  • Organic matter: Manure provides a lot of organic matter to the soil which increases water retention capacity in sandy soils and drainage as well as aeration in clayey soils.
  • Nutrients: Manure enriches the soil with nutrients.
  • Soil organisms: it provides food for soil organisms like soil friendly bacteria and earthworm.
  • Recycling: By using biological waste materials as manure, we recycle the wastes and protect our environment from chemicals.

TYPES OF MANURES

Organic manures include (i) Farmyard manure (FYM), (ii) Compost, (iii) Green manure.

FARMYARD MANURE (FYM)

This is the decomposed mixture of excreta (dung) and urine of farm animals like cow, horse, goat and sheep.

  • They are readymade manures and contain nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
  • Farmyard manure when collected in the field and stored in an exposed condition over a long period shows considerable loss of ammonia which is a loss of fertilizing value. To prevent this loss the dung is stored in pits which are about a metre deep. When the pits are filled to the top, the surface is sealed with mud slurry. The manure is ready for use in about 4-5 months. Microbes play an important role in decomposing the dung and converting it into manure.

COMPOST

This consists of a variety of farm wastes such as farm weeds, straw, sugarcane refuse, rotting vegetables, kitchen wastes, crop stubble, and groundnut.

  • Composting is a biological process in which aerobic and anaerobic microorganisms decompose organic matter. A trench of suitable size 4-5 m long, 1.5 to 1.8 m broad and 1.0 to 1.8 m deep is dug. A layer of well mixed refuse of about 30 cm thickness is spread in the pit. Slurry of cow dung, earth and water is poured over this layer to keep it moist. Another layer of the mixed refuse is spread in the pit till the heap rises to a height of 45 to 60 cm above ground level. Finally the top is covered with a thin layer of mud. Three months later of decomposition the layers are well mixed and covered again. After three months the compost is ready to be used in the fields.

GREEN MANURE

Green manuring is the practice of growing and ploughing in, the green crops, into the soil.

  • It is a cheap and effective method that increases soil fertility as it can supplement farmyard and other organic manures and is more cost effective.
  • Green manures add nitrogen and organic matter to the soil for improving crop productivity. They also improve soil aeration and drainage conditions. Both leguminous and non-leguminous plants are grown for making green manure. The following is a list of plants used as green manure.

Fertilizers

Constant use of the soil leads to the loss of its important nutrients particularly nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium and thus the soil loses its fertility. For the healthy growth of the plant these deficiencies in the soil have to be replenished with the use of certain materials called fertilizers. These can be classified under two groups.

Depending up on the critical element present, fertilizers are four main types:

  • Nitrogenous fertilizers: contain nitrogen as the principal nutrient.
  • Phosphate fertilizers: contain phosphorous as the principal nutrient.
  • Potassium fertilizers: contain potassium as the principal nutrient.
  • Complex fertilizers:  contains two or more critical nutrients. 

IRRIGATION

The process of supplying water to crops in the fields by means of canals, reservoirs, wells, river valley systems and river lift systems is known as irrigation.

PURPOSE OF IRRIGATION

  • It supplies two essential micro-nutrients that are hydrogen and oxygen.
  • It helps in the absorption of nutrients
  • It helps in growth and elongation of roots

IRRIGATION SYSTEM

·       Canal System
·       Reservoirs (tanks)
  • Wells

Wells are dug wherever exploitable ground water is present. Wells are of two kinds

Hybridisation

Hybridisation is the technique of introducing characters of two desirable plants into a single offspring (hybrid) by means of artificial pollination. This involves crossing of genetically dissimilar plants.

  • Intervarietal hybridization (between two different varieties)
  • Interspecific hybridization (between two species of the same genus)
  • Intergeneric hybridization (between two plants belonging to two different genera)

Crop Protection

Most of the food crops are subjected to damage by insects and diseases. Large number of insects and diseases are recognized on every food crop. Control of insects and diseases is one of the great challenges posed to human knowledge.

Pesticides in general, make a class of chemicals used to control pests, which include insects, fungi, bacteria, weeds, rodents, mites etc. respectively. Each one is controlled by group of chemicals like insecticides, fungicides, bactericides, weedicides, etc.

Certain preventive measures can be adopted to protect crops from weeds, insects, mites, rodents and fungi. They are:

  • Use of resistant varieties
  • Optimum time of sowing the crops
  • Crop rotation and cropping system
  • Clean cultivation
  • Summer ploughing

Rabi crops are more susceptible to insects and pests as against kharif crops as warm and humid climate is congenial for infestation. Control measures of the insect-pests of major crops

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