Improvement in Food Resources

Start music   Jan 3 2017 || 9:02 AM


India’s food production scenario

  • India has a population of a billion people and growing
  • We will soon need more than a quarter billion tonnes of food grains every year


Challenges for India

  • To produce more grains, we need to cultivate more
  • However, India is already intensively cultivated so there is no scope for increasing the cultivable land
  • So it is imperative to increase the production efficiency for both crop and livestock
  • Increasing the income of farmers
  • Food should be made accessible and available to all the people


India’s successful ventures to increase food production

There has been a four times increase in the production of food grains from 1952 to 2010 with only 25% increase in the cultivable land area


  • Green revolution – Helped in increasing the food grain production
  • White Revolution – Better efficiency and more availability of milk


Crops and their uses

Crop type




Wheat, rice, maize, millets

and sorghum

Provides carbohydrates


Gram (chana), pea (matar), black gram (urad), green gram (moong), pigeon pea (arhar), lentil (masoor)

Provides proteins

Oil seeds

Soya bean, ground nut, sesame, castor, mustard, linseed and sunflower

Provides fats


Vegetables, fruits, spices

Provides vitamins and minerals

Fodder crops

berseem, oats or sudan grass

Provides food for livestock





Cropping seasons in India


Name of the season

Time period


Kharif Season

June – October

Paddy, soya bean, pigeon pea, maize, cotton, green gram and black gram

Rabi season

November – April

wheat, gram,

peas, mustard, linseed


Stages of Farming

  1. Choice of seeds for planting
  2. Nurturing of the crops
  3. Protection of the growing and harvested crops from loss


3 major group of activities for improving crop yield:

  1. Crop variety improvement
  2. Crop production improvement
  3. Crop protection management


Crop variety improvement


This approach depends on finding a crop variety that can give a good yield It can be done by: Hybridization and Genetic Modifications



It refers to crossing between genetically dissimilar plants

It can be crossed in three ways:

  1. Intervarietal (between different varieties),
  2. Interspecific (between two different species of the same genus)
  3. Intergeneric (between different genera)


Genetic modifications

  • By introducing a gene that would provide the desired characteristic


Desirable characteristics in a crop variety

Higher yield

  • For increased productivity of crop per acre


Improved quality

  • Baking quality is important in wheat,
  • Protein quality in pulses, oil quality in oilseeds
  • Preserving quality in fruits and vegetables


Biotic and abiotic resistance

  • Resistant to diseases, insects and nematodes (biotic)
  • Resistant to drought, salinity, water logging, heat, cold and frost (abiotic)


Change in maturity duration

  • Shorter the duration of the crop from sowing to harvesting, the more economical is the variety
  • Reduces the cost of crop production
  • Uniform maturity makes the harvesting process easy and reduces losses during harvesting


Wider adaptability

  • Will help in stabilising the crop production under different environmental conditions
  • One variety can then be grown under different climatic conditions in different areas


Desirable agronomic characteristics


  • Tallness and profuse branching in fodder crops
  • Dwarfness in cereals (so that less nutrients are consumed by these crops)


Crop Production Management


  • Production practices of farmers can be at different levels based on their economic status.
  • Depending on the scenario, they may include
    • ‘No cost’ production,
    • ‘Low cost’ production or
    • ‘High cost’ production practices.


Nutrient Management’

  • There are sixteen nutrients which are essential for plants which they receive from Air, water and soil
  • Amongst the thirteen nutrients obtained by plants from the soil, six are required in large quantities and are therefore called macronutrients.
  • The other seven nutrients are used by plants in small quantities and are therefore called micro-nutrients







Carbon, Oxygen


Hydrogen, Oxygen


(i) Macronutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus,

potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulphur

(ii) Micronutrients: iron, manganese, boron, zinc, copper, molybdenum, chlorine



Manure contains large quantities of organic matter and also supplies small quantities of nutrients to the soil


How is manure prepared?

  • By the decomposition of animal excreta and plant waste



  • Helps in enriching soil with nutrients and organic matter and increasing soil fertility
  • Helps in improving the soil structure by increasing the water holding capacity in sandy soils
  • In clayey soils, the large quantities of organic matter help in drainage and in avoiding water logging


Advantages of using Manure

  • Protecting our environment from excessive use of fertilizers
  • Provides for a way to recycle farm waste


Classification of Manure

It is classified based on the kind of biological material used

Compost and vermi-compost

  • Waste materials used: Livestock excreta, vegetable waste, animal refuse, domestic waste, sewage waste, straw, eradicated weeds etc.
  • The wastes are decomposed in pits is known as composting
  • It is rich in organic matter and nutrients.
  • It is also prepared by using earthworms to hasten the process of decomposition of plant and animal refuse. This is called vermi-composting


Green manure

  • Prior to the sowing of the crop seeds, some plants (like sun hemp or guar) are grown and then mulched by ploughing them into the soil
  • These green plants thus turn into green manure
  • Helps in enriching the soil in nitrogen and phosphorus



  • Fertilizers are commercially produced plant nutrients.
  • They supply nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
  • They are used to ensure good vegetative growth (leaves, branches and flowers)
  • Fertilizers are a factor in the higher yields of high-cost farming


Precautions in using fertilizers

  • Should be applied carefully in terms of proper dose, time, and observing pre and post-application precautions for their complete utilisation
  • Excess fertilizer use leads to water pollution.
  • Continuous use of fertilizers destroys soil fertility as the organic matter in the soil is not replenished
  • The micro-organisms in the soil are harmed by the fertilizers


Organic Farming

It has the following characteristics:

  • Minimal or no use of chemicals as fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides etc
  • More use of organic manures, & bio fertilizers (from blue green algae)
  • Neem leaves or turmeric (specifically in grain storage) as bio-pesticides
  • Healthy cropping systems [mixed cropping, inter-cropping and crop rotation)



India’s Scenario

  • Most agriculture in India is rain-fed. Hence, poor monsoons cause crop failure
  • Ensuring that the crops get water at the right stages during their growing season can increase their expected yields

Irrigation systems in India


They are of 2 types: Dug wells, Tube wells

  1. Dug Wells - Water is collected from water bearing strata
  2. Tube Wells – Taps water from the deeper strata


  • An elaborate and extensive irrigation system
  • Canals receive water from one or more reservoirs or from rivers
  • Main canal is divided into branch canals having further distributaries to irrigate fields

River Lift Systems

  • In areas where canal flow is insufficient or irregular
  • Water is directly drawn from the rivers for supplementing irrigation in areas close to rivers.


  • Small storage reservoirs, which intercept and store the run-off of smaller catchment areas


  • Stops the rainwater from flowing away and also reduce soil erosion
  • Leads to an increase in ground water levels


Cropping Patterns

Mixed cropping

  • Growing two or more crops simultaneously on the same piece of land
  • Example: wheat + gram
  • This cropping pattern reduces risks and gives some insurance against failure of one of the crops.


  • Growing two or more crops simultaneously on the same field in a definite pattern
  • A few rows of one crop alternate with a few rows of a second crop. Example: Soyabean + maize
  • Crops are selected such that their nutrient requirements are different
  • Ensures maximum utilisation of the nutrients supplied
  • Prevents pests and diseases from spreading to all the plants belonging to one crop in a field
  • This way, both crops can give better returns

Crop rotation

  • The growing of different crops on a piece of land in a pre-planned succession
  • Factors for crop rotation
    • Duration of growth of the crops
    • Availability of moisture and irrigation facilities
  • Two or three crops can be grown in a year with good harvests



Crop Protection Management


Crops have to be actively protected from threats like weeds, diseases and pests



  • Weeds are unwanted plants in the cultivated field
  • They compete for food, space and light, take up nutrients and reduce the growth of the crop
  • Examples: Xanthium (gokhroo), Parthenium (gajar ghas), Cyperinus rotundus (motha)



Pests affect the health of the crop and reduce yields. They attack the plants in three ways:

  1. They cut the root, stem and leaf,
  2. They suck the cell sap from various parts of the plant
  3. They bore into stem and fruits



  • Caused by pathogens such as bacteria, fungi and viruses
  • Transmitted through soil, air and water


Controlling pests, weeds and diseases

Pest Control

  • Using resistant varieties of crops is a preventive measure
  • Most commonly used methods is the use of pesticides:
    • Herbicides
    • Insecticides
    • Fungicides
  • These chemicals are sprayed on crop plants or used for treating seeds and soil
  • Excessive use can cause poisoning and environmental damage


Weed Control

  • Mechanical removal
  • Preventive methods such as:
    • Proper seed bed preparation,
    • Timely sowing of crops,
    • Intercropping
    • Crop rotation


Storage of grains

Factors responsible for losses in crop:

  1. Biotic factors - insects, rodents, fungi, mites and bacteria,
  2. Abiotic factors – inappropriate moisture and temperatures in the place of storage


Impacts of such crop degrading factors

  • Degradation in quality,
  • Loss in weight,
  • Poor germinability
  • Discolouration of produce,
  • Poor marketability


Measures to improve crop storage

  • Strict cleaning of the produce before storage
  • Proper drying of the produce first in sunlight and then in shade
  • Fumigation using chemicals



Animal Husbandry


  • It is the scientific management of animal livestock
  • Includes various aspects of: Feeding, breeding and disease control
  • Animal-based farming includes cattle, goat, sheep, poultry and fish farming


Cattle farming

Done for two purposes:

  1. Milk (milk producing females are called milch animals)
  2. Draught (labour animals used for agricultural work)


Indian cattle belong to two different species:

  1. Bos indicus (cows)
  2. Bos bubalis (buffaloes)


Milk Production

  • Milk production depends on the length of lactation period
  • Exotic/foreign breeds are selected for long lactation periods (example, Jersey, Brown Swiss)
  • Local breeds show excellent resistance to diseases (example, Red Sindhi, Sahiwal)
  • The two can be cross-bred to get animals with both the desired qualities


Maintenance of cattle

  • Animals require regular brushing to remove dirt and loose hair
  • They should be sheltered under well-ventilated roofed sheds
  • They should be protected from rain, heat and cold
  • Floor of the cattle shed needs to be sloping so as to stay dry and to facilitate cleaning


Food requirements of cattle

Animal feed includes:

  • Roughage, which is largely fibre,
  • Concentrates, which are low in fibre and contain high levels of proteins & other nutrients
  • Feed additives containing micronutrients promote the health & milk output of dairy animals
  • Food requirements of dairy animals are of two types:
  • Maintenance requirement (to support the animal to live a healthy life)
  • Milk producing requirement, (required during the lactation period)


Infections in cattle

  1. Infectious diseases are also caused by bacteria and viruses
  2. External parasites live on the skin and mainly cause skin diseases
  3. Internal parasites like worms, affect stomach and intestine while flukes damage the liver



Vaccinations are given to farm animals against many major viral and bacterial diseases


Poultry Farming


  • Raises domestic fowl for egg production and chicken meat
  • The cross-breeding programmes between Indian (example, Aseel) and foreign (exotic, example, Leghorn) breeds for variety improvement are done


Desirable qualities in poultry are:

  • Number and quality of chicks
  • Dwarf broiler parent for commercial Chick production
  • Summer adaptation capacity/ tolerance to high temperature;
  • Low maintenance requirements;
  • Reduction in the size of the egg-laying bird with ability to utilise more fibrous cheaper diets formulated using agricultural by-products


Egg and Broiler Production

  • Broilers are produced for meat
  • They are fed with vitamin-rich supplementary feed for good growth rate feed efficiency


Maintenance of poultry

  • Maintenance of temperature and hygienic conditions in housing and poultry feed,
  • Prevention and control of diseases and pests
  • Appropriate vaccination prevents occurrence of infectious diseases and reduce loss


Food requirements of poultry

  • The daily food requirement for broilers is protein rich with adequate fat
  • The level of vitamins A and K is kept high in the daily food requirement of poultry.


Fish Production


  • Fishes are a cheap source of animal protein
  • Water source for fish can be freshwater or seawater
  • Fishing can be done by capture & culture of fish in marine & freshwater ecosystems
  • 2 ways of obtaining fish:
  • Capture fishing: Natural sources
  • Fish farming: Culture fishery


Marine fisheries

  • India’s marine fishery resources include 7500 km of coastline & the deep seas beyond it
  • Yields are increased by locating large schools of fish in the open sea using satellites and echo-sounders


Popular marine fish varieties:

  • Pomphret,
  • Mackerel,
  • Tuna,
  • Sardines,
  • Bombay duck


Marine fish of high economic value:

  • Mullets,
  • Bhetki,
  • Pearl spots,
  • Shellfish such as prawns
  • Mussels and oysters (cultivated for pearls)
  • Seaweed


Inland fisheries

  • They include freshwater as well as brackish water fisheries
  • Most inland fish production is through aquaculture
  • Fish culture is sometimes done in combination with rice crop, so that fish are grown in the water in the paddy field

Composite fish culture

  • Here, a combination of five or six fish species is used in a single fishpond
  • The species are selected so that they do not compete for food among them
  • This is because they have different food habits


  • Catlas are surface feeders,
  • Rohus feed in the middle-zone of the pond,
  • Mrigals and Common Carps are bottom feeders,
  • Grass Carps feed on the weeds


Problem with composite fish culture

  • Lack of availability of good quality seed
  • Even if fish seed is collected from the wild, it can be mixed with that of other species as well


How is this problem overcome?

  • Breeding these fish in ponds using hormonal stimulation
  • This ensures the supply of pure fish seed in desired quantities




  • Needs low investments, and farmers engage in it for additional income
  • Bee-keeping produces: Honey as well as wax (used for medicinal purposes)


The local varieties of bees used are:

  • Apis cerana indica, - The Indian bee
  • A. dorsata - The rock bee
  • A. florae -The little bee


An exotic/foreign variety brought in to increase honey yield is:

  • A. mellifera - An Italian bee variety, commonly used for honey production


Advantages of the Italian bee variety:

  • Have high honey collection capacity
  • Sting somewhat less
  • Stay in a given beehive for long periods & Breed very well


The value, quality and taste of the honey produced by bees depend on the pasturage or the flowers available to the bees