Plant Insects and Diseases a Risk for Future Agriculture
When we talk about the challenge of ending hunger and feeding a growing global population, most of the focus is put on to increasing agricultural production. That is not surprising, it is our alternate solution to most our social problems. But some of the hunger gap could be closed by making better use of the crops. In this era there are various risks for the agricultural crops which cause the less production. The most prominent risk is plant insects and disease, because due to this most of the major crops cannot full fill their required target yield globally. As we know that plant pests and diseases, which have historically laid waste to whole harvests. The Irish potato famine of the 1840s caused by the oomycete Phytophthora infestans led to the deaths of a million people and the emigration of another 2 million Irish. The 1943s Great Bengal Famine in India led to the deaths of some 3 million and was caused by a simple fungus. Even today, when farmers are better equipped to control pests and pathogens, major part of crop production each year is lost due to the biological threats. So, there is no enough food to feed hundreds of millions of people. Insects and pathogens are weather-dependent, and many thrive in hotter, wetter climates, which is exactly the sort of change that global warming is predicted to create over the coming decades. We can already see the results of some of that pest expansion. The rice blast fungus, present in scores of countries, has migrated to wheat. The truly scary possibility is that a new or re-emerging plant disease could decimate major crops, that the global diet is based on. That’s why we need to support seed banks, which store a variety of strains within a crop, to ensure that farmers have weapons to respond to a new plant plague. They will need those bullets in a warmer world.
- This article is collectively authored by Muhammad Hammad Raza Institute of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development University of Agriculture, Faisalabad and Dr.Ghazanfar Ali Khan Institute of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.