Organic nutrient resources
Manures and composts
To address the fertilizer scarcity, the DPR Korea government has placed a strong focus on the usage of organic fertilizing resources like compost, which are made from animal, agricultural, and human waste. Other options, such as ash, are also employed as potash sources.
The generation of organic manures is constrained by the limited amount of biomass and the decreasing cattle population. Organic fertilizers in large amounts (10 to 20 t/ha of compost) are utilized, although the quality is questionable. Straw, domestic trash, slag, ash, and soil make up the majority of the raw material. Since the animal population has declined in recent years, animal excrement is sparse.
At the cooperative farms visited, 10 to 20 tonnes of compost and 500 to 1000 kg of ash were spread to the summer crop at the time of sowing. Composting is a popular hobby in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Construction of cemented/tiled compost pits with shade might be useful to increasing compost adoption.
The cultivation of a food legume, collecting the pods prior to full maturity and putting in the biomass into the soil when still green might be a better economic proposition than a simply green manure crop e.g. peas (pods with stems) followed by rice. Spring peas have a lot of promise as a pea crop as well as a green manure crop. Pea yields of up to 1.5 t/ha have been achieved in field experiments. Crops like mung bean, which can be used as both a grain and a green manure source, would be worth looking into.
In the province of North Hwanghae, cropping sequences with green manure crops such as spring oats (Chinese variety: Jin Yan Za), common vetch (Chinese variety: Jian She Wandu), red clover, and peas have been explored.
EM (Effective Microorganisms) products are Japanese ‘bio-fertilizers.’ EM is typically advised for vegetable crops rather than other crops. During monitoring visits, however, it was discovered that many spring crops had gotten 20 kg of EM at the time of planting and would get another 100 kg of EM at later phases of crop growth.
Plant breeding, agronomic practices, and contemporary biotechnology techniques are all used to improve the nutritional content of food crops in the process of bio fortification.
- Bio fortification is the process of cultivating crops to boost their nutritional content from seed to harvest.
- It’s not the same as food fortification, which entails increasing the nutritional value of food crops during the processing step.
- During the plant growth stage, bio fortification improves the nutritional value of crops by embedding nutritional micronutrient content in the crop being cultivated.
- Crops can be bio fortified via genetic engineering or selective breeding. Bio fortification in India is done solely by selective breeding.
- Iron, zinc, and vitamin A deficiencies are the focus of bio fortification research. These are the micronutrients that affect the greatest number of individuals across the world.
- Pearl millet (iron), wheat (zinc), sorghum (zinc), rice (zinc), cowpeas (iron), and lentils are the emphasis in India (iron and zinc).
- Farmers in India may now purchase biofortified pearl millet, rice, and wheat.
Techniques involved in Bio fortification
The most common strategies or procedures for bio fortifying crops are listed below.
Agronomic practices: This entails the use of fertilizers to boost the amount of micronutrients in plants growing on soils deficient in such micronutrients/minerals.
Conventional plant breeding: This entails using traditional breeding methods to generate enough genetic variants in crops to achieve the desired characteristic, such as a high concentration of any micronutrient. It entails crossing types over many generations to produce a plant with high nutritional content and other desirable characteristics. In India, this is the only way for generating bio fortified crops.
Genetic engineering/modification: Genetic engineering/modification entails adding DNA into an organism’s genome to introduce new or different features, such as disease resistance.
Bio fortification Examples
The following are some examples of food crops that have been bio fortified:
- Iron bio fortification – Rice, sweet potato, beans, legumes, cassava
- Zinc bio fortification – Rice, wheat, sweet potato, maize, beans
- Pro-vitamin A carotenoid bio fortification – Cassava, maize, sweet potato
- Amino acid and protein bio fortification – Cassava, sorghum
Advantages of Bio fortification
In India, the Green Revolution and similar activities were aimed at putting an end to famine. The country’s food grain output has grown as a result of the Green Revolution, and it is now largely self-sufficient. The government has implemented a number of initiatives and steps to guarantee that the populace consumes adequate food in terms of calorific content.
However, the present focus is on raising food intake’s nutritious content. Many people may not obtain enough nutrients from their meals, despite having “enough to eat.” As a result, there is an issue known as “hidden hunger.”
Micronutrient deficiencies, such as zinc and iron, are referred to be “hidden hunger.”
Many researchers believe that bio fortifying food crops might alleviate hidden hunger.
- Bio fortification aids in the enhancement of people’s overall health.
- Such crops are more resistant to diseases, pests, droughts, and other environmental factors, and produce higher yields.
- It offers a food-based, sustainable and low-dose alternative to iron supplementation.
- It has the potential to reach the most vulnerable members of society (those who cannot buy food supplements) as well as farmers.
- It is extremely cost-effective since the procedure can be simply copied and scaled after the first study is completed.
- Bio fortification using non-genetically modified approaches (such as traditional plant breeding in India) is a superior option to GM crops, which encounter implementation challenges.
- In a nation like India, where there are significant nutritional issues, bio fortification provides a long-term, cost-effective solution to the problem.
- Various research and data suggest that India confronts a serious under nutrition problem.
- Anemia and iron deficiency are widespread concerns in society, particularly among the economically disadvantaged and women.
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