- Green Revolution is the process of increasing food production through high yielding crop varieties and modern agricultural techniques in underdeveloped and developing nations.
- Norman E. Borlaug, an American agronomist the “Father of the Green Revolution”, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970.
- In India M. S. Swaminathan joined with Dr.Borlaug in bringing Green Revolution by introducing Mexican wheat varieties.
- This eventually increased wheat and rice production between 1960 and 2000.
Breeding for high yield and better quality
Major challenge that India faced during post-independence period was having enough food production for the growing population. Efforts were taken to develop high yielding varieties of crops, leading to Green Revolution.
- Semi-Dwarf varieties in Wheat and Rice
- Sonalika, Kalyan Sona are semi-dwarf varieties of wheat developed from high yielding, semi-dwarf, fertilizer responsive wheat varieties from Mexico.
- IR-8 (Miracle rice) is a high-yielding semi-dwarf rice variety developed by International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines.
- In 1966, this was first introduced in Philippines and India.
- It was a hybrid of a high yielding rice variety Peta from Indonesia, and Dee-geo-woo-gen (DGWG) a dwarf variety from China.
Plant Breeding for Disease Resistance
- Plant diseases are caused by pathogens like viruses, bacteria and fungi.
- This affects crop yield. Hence, it is important to develop disease resistant varieties of crops, that would increase the yield and reduce the use of fungicides and bactericides.
Plant Breeding for Insects/Pests Resistance
- In addition to microorganisms, a large number of insects and pests also cause damage to the crops.
- Hence, insect and pest resistant crop varieties were developed.
Plant Breeding for Improved Nutritional Quality
- Undernutrition and protein malnutrition among human population is a major health problem which has been receiving much focus throughout the world.
- Apart, from humans it also affects the health of farm animals.
- To combat these conditions, human and animal health are to be determined by the nutritional quality of the feed crops.
- The nutritional quality of crops depends on quality and quantity of nutrients.
- The nutritional quality may be improved with respect to its:
- Protein content and quality of protein
- Oil content
- Mineral content
- Biofortification is the scientific process of developing crop plants enriched with high levels of desirable nutrients like vitamins, proteins and minerals.
- Some examples of crop varieties developed as a result of biofortification are given below:
- Protina, Shakti and Rathna are lysine rich maize hybrids (developed in India).
- Atlas 66, a protein rich wheat variety.
- Iron rich fortified rice variety.
- Vitamin A enriched carrots, pumpkin and spinach.