Crop Improvement the key to food security in Nigeria


The world is expanding and population keeps increasing at an alarming rate. The need for more food production can’t be overemphasized, while the provision of adequate food security shouldn’t be up for debate anymore as it is now a necessity.

Scientists — and other farm experts— are doing everything possible to boost rate of agricultural products as they continue to engage in different experiments and practicals. Luckily, they eventually found a laudable way to improve farm yield and that’s Crop Improvements.

What Is Crops Improvement?

Crop improvement simply means the actions taking by some scientists and botanists in order to improve the characteristics, features and overall usefulness of plants or crops.

These actions include deploying the study of genetics, cytology, taxonomy, physiology and anatomy of plants in order to ensure that important traits are transferred from one plant to another via plant breeding.

The Importance of Crop Improvements

There are many reasons why crop improvement is taken seriously among farmers and experts. One of the reasons is its numerous importance, which include the following:

1. It Aids Crop’s Productivity: This is the main reason for plant breeding or crop improvement. This is because passing of good and important traits from one plant to another only leads to higher productivity.

2. It Ensures That Farmer’s Desires Are Met: If a farmer wants a certain trait in his plants, he can easily engage in plant breeding or crop improvement which allows him to transfer features from another plants to his own.

3. It Improves Crops Resistance To Pests and Diseases: It also ensures that crops develop a huge resistance to pest and disease that are capable of affecting their yield and quality.

Ways To Ensure Crop Improvement

There are two major scientific ways to improve your plants features and qualities. They are Genotype Improvement and Phenotype Improvement.

1. Genotype Improvement

This is the type of crop improvement which involves the transfer of Genetic features from one plant to another. This means that the traits of a plant can be transferred from first generation to successive generations.

Guidelines on How To Carry Out a Genotypic Improvement on Your Plants

There are some steps you need to undertake before you can successfully carry out this type of crop improvement in your farm. The steps include the following:

A. Introduction

Plants or species of crop that possess desirable qualities are being introduced into a new environment where they will be utilized.

This step means that you will import new species of crops into your farm where their traits will be transferred to your own crops. However you must ensure that the crops are infection-free and free of any disease.

B. Selection

Plants have different levels of productivity, some produce high while others produce in low quantities. This is why it is important you select the plants that have impressive characteristics from their species.

This procedure is done artificially because you need to separate the useful plants from their species so that you will breed them.

This process is equally tagged selective breeding by some experts, and it doesn’t lead to creation of new specie. Instead, it will help in improving heritable characteristics.

C. Hybridization

Hybridization is the process of improving crop’s quality by transferring traits and characteristics that are heritable from one plant to another via the merging (fusion) of male and female gametes.

It ensures that desirable traits are transferred from parents to their upcoming generations. This process can be carried out in animals too.

D. Cross-breeding

This procedure or process includes the collection of pollen grains from plants (with desirable features) to the stigma of another plant that doesn’t possess the desired or positive traits.

This process is done between plants of the same species, though, the two plants are of different varieties.

Features such as high resistance to diseases, drought, heat and wind are usually transferred via cross-breeding.

2. Phenotype Improvement

This is the second scientific way to improve your crops, but it deals with the physical attributes or aspects of plants.

This type or method mostly deals with modern agronomic practices which provides you with perfect chance to improve your crops’ qualities and productivity.

This system or method involves nursery and transplanting techniques, conservation of soil nutrients, planting crops at the right time, and exploitation of other scientific planting operations.


Irrespective of the type of improvement you choose, your crops are guaranteed high productivity as long as you do it perfectly.

However, we advise that combining the two types will boost your success rate because the crops will develop highly impressive traits.

This means that Genetic improvement should be integrated with the super-productive agronomic practices (phenotypic improvement) for good success.

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