Why Conserving Wild Crop Varieties is Essential for Our Food Security


The last few generations of human civilization had destroyed several things that our ancestors developed for us. One of the important things our ancestors did for us is screening crop varieties that ensure our food security. But in modern agriculture, we only selected those that gave high yields but most of these varieties are not able to provide nutrition, resistance to pests, disease, and changing environmental conditions. Now our food security is under stress. Wild crop varieties are those wild species that are regarded as the ancestors of our cultivated crops. This wild species Provide the opportunity to improve the productivity and resilience of agriculture. However, in the coming century, as the population increases to over 9 billion and climate change intensifies, worsening the spread of crop pests and diseases, they may become indispensable. The recent increase in temperature drastically reduced the production of wheat and other crops in several regions of the world.

The conservation of wild crop varieties is crucial for several reasons:

Biodiversity: Wild crop varieties are an essential component of global biodiversity. These varieties contain unique genetic traits that may be essential for developing new plant varieties that can withstand fluctuating environmental conditions, and resistance for pests, and diseases, Therefore, preserving these varieties is crucial to maintaining biodiversity and ensuring the sustainability of our food system.

Cultural heritage: Wild crop varieties have played a crucial role in the diets and cultures of indigenous communities around the world. Preserving these varieties helps to protect the cultural heritage of these communities and ensures that traditional knowledge about wild crops is passed down to future generations.

Abiotic stress tolerance: Abiotic stresses like drought, salinity, high temperature, heavy rainfall, and severe cold is causing significant disruptions to our food systems. Wild crop varieties can provide genes that can help crops to adapt to warmer temperatures, drier conditions, and other changes in the environment. Therefore, preserving these varieties is essential for developing crops that can thrive in a changing climate.

Food security: Wild crop varieties are resistant to pests and diseases, and more tolerant to drought and other environmental stresses. Therefore, preserving these varieties is essential for ensuring food security in areas where agricultural production is threatened by these challenges.

Nutritional benefits: Wild crop varieties often contain higher levels of essential nutrients than cultivated crops. These varieties can be used to improve the nutritional value of crops and provide a more diverse range of nutrients to consumers. Before the European colonization of Asian and African countries and the introduction of wheat, most of these countries depends on several types of millet that have more nutrition than wheat, but now most of the world’s population depends on a few varieties of wheat, rice, and corn. Most of these countries are suffering from malnutrition, wild crops can be a main nutrition source for them.

Grafting for vegetables: Recently some researchers found that grafting wild vegetable species of brinjal, tomato with developed hybrid verities has shown abiotic stress tolerance and these grafted plants have better pest and disease resistance than the hybrid varieties.

Medicinal uses: Wild crop varieties are often used in traditional medicine to treat a range of health problems. These varieties can be used to develop new drugs and treatments that can benefit human health.

We already lose thousands of wild crop verities this will impact us in several ways:

Reduced crop diversity: With fewer wild crop varieties available, there is less genetic diversity to draw upon for crop breeding. This can make crops more susceptible to pests and diseases. Nowadays same crop varieties are planted in most farms, if any disease or pest came to contact with the plants whole village and country suffer a lot of crop destruction.

Increased vulnerability to pests and diseases: Without the genetic diversity provided by wild crop varieties, cultivated crops are more vulnerable to pests and diseases. This can lead to crop failures and food shortages.

Loss of traditional crop varieties: Our ancestors spends thousands of years to screen these varieties from forests. When wild crop varieties are lost, traditional farmers lose access to the crops that they have depended on for generations. This can lead to the loss of traditional cultures and knowledge.

Decreased biodiversity: Every plant and animal have an important role in our ecosystem. The loss of wild crop varieties contributes to the loss of biodiversity. Wild crop varieties are an important part of the natural world, and their loss can have a negative impact on the environment.

In conclusion, the conservation of wild crop varieties is critical for preserving biodiversity, keeping cultural heritage, acclimatizing to climate change, and ensuring food security. Wild crop varieties are important for the future of agriculture. By conserving wild crop varieties, we can ensure that we have a source of genetic diversity to draw on when we need to breed crops that are resistant to pests, diseases, and environmental changes. We can also help to ensure that wild animals have a source of food to survive.

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