The Best Ways to Improve the Productivity of Crops In 2022

Ways of Improving Animals

Crop improvement refers to the ways of developing and breeding crop varieties which are better that the existing varieties in several characters.

Aims of Crop Improvement

The people that breed new varieties of crops have their aims and objectives in their mind. These aims include:

  1. To increase yield: The variety of crops that is newly developed by plant breeders are capable of giving very high yield or quantity crops per unit of land. The quantity is measured in kg/ha e.g high yield of tomatoes from 1000kg/ha to 1700kg/ha. There will be a great increase in the income of farmers.
  2. To improve the quality of produce: The quality of farm produce enhances its usefulness and value. Plant breeders can improve the taste, colour, size, nutritive values and fibre content of crops.
  3. To adapt to climatic conditions:  Plant breeders develop a variety of crops that will be capable of withstanding extreme conditions of cold, heat, drought and wind by making some changes in the growth cycle of the variety better to suit the available growing season of that crop.
  4. To increase resistance to diseases: Plant breeders also develop varieties of crops which are not only resistant to diseases but will be able to produce high yields even if there is a disease outbreak.
  5. To meet the needs of growers: Improvement of crops to suit the farming methods of different farmers. For example, some large-scale farmers will prefer a short variety of maize which can be harvested by machines, instead of talk ones which can be harvested by hand or manual method.
  6. To obtain uniformity of plants: One of the aims of the plant breeders is to breed crops which can grow and mature with others at the same time to facilitate mechanisation or ease of harvesting.
  7. Aim to breed crops with early maturing: Plant breeders try to breed plants that will mature early to ease the job of growers. This early maturing will make the growers plant it many times in a year depending on the crops that are breaded.
  8. To improve harvesting quality: The breeder develops new varieties of crops that can be harvested without any damage and with ease.
  9. To improve the nutritional value of the produce: It is the greatest aim of plant breeders to develop crops that have high nutritional value like high protein, minerals, vitamins etc. which are useful to man. This saves money for the consumer by avoiding buying supplements.

Keywords in Crop Improvement

It is vital to know some terminologies that we come across in crop development in order to understand how to enhance crops, which is highly useful in plant breeding.

  1. Character or Traits: These are the inherited attributes that the person breeding the crop will select. E.g seed colour, seed size, disease resistance, plant heights, maturing age etc.
  2. Chromosomes: These are rods or thread-shaped bodies that are found in the nucleus of a cell. All plants and animals have a fixed number of chromosomes.
  3. Genes: These are the units of inheritance. Genes are located in the chromosomes and it is responsible for the transmission of characters from parents to their offspring.
  4. Gamete: This is a mature sex cell which takes part in sexual reproduction. There are two types make gamete or spermatozoa (in animals) and pollen grains (in plants)  and female gamete or egg or ovum (in animals) and ovules (in plants). A gamete is usually haploid.
  5. Phenotype: These are the physically and physiologically expressed traits of an individual e.g height
  6. Genotype: This term is used to describe those traits or the sum total of the genes inherited from both parents. Genotype includes both dominant and recessive traits.

Process of Crop Improvement

The process of crop improvement includes:

  • Introduction
  • Selection
  • Breeding or Hybridization


This is the importation of introduction or some varieties of crops with desirable characteristics into areas where they have not existed before. In other words, it involves the movement of crops from their origin or supposed centres of evolution to another region or area where they can adapt. Crops with breeders' desired quality are identified in the place they exist and then procured. 

Such procured crops are then introduced into the country of the breeders for testing and multiplication. Such crops are always quarantined by the nation's quarantine service. The introduction is usually carried out to upgrade the qualities of the local varieties of crops.

Advantages of Introduction in Crop Improvement

  1. It helps to introduce new varieties of crops into areas where they have not existed.
  2. It may enhance greater productivity.
  3. It helps to upgrade the local varieties of crops

Disadvantages of Introduction in Crops improvement

There is a big possibility of introducing new crop diseases if the crop is not properly quarantined.

The new crop may not be able to adapt to the new area's climatic conditions and it leads to a waste of money for importation.


This is the picking of desirable crop characteristics artificially which are most favoured by the environment. In another word, this is the ability to choose certain crops which possess specific artificial or external characteristics which can be recognized easily by seeing them.

The method of selection includes

  1. Mass Selection: Crop plants are selected or rejected on the basis of their own advantages. Crop plants with desired characteristics are chosen in preference to those not possessing them from a large group of crops.
  2. Pure line selection - This is the selection of only one crop having the good characteristics breeders want.
  3. Progeny Selection: Crops plants are selected based on how their offspring performed.
  4. Pedigree selection: This is the selection of crops based on their ancestor's performance. It is based on the belief that the offspring will perform like or even better than the ancestors.

Advantages of selection

  1. It ensures that the best crops are grown naturally.
  2. It reduces the spread of diseases.
  3. Crops with breeders' undesirable characters are rejected immediately. 
  4. Crops with desired qualities are selected

Disadvantages of Selection

  1. It is very expensive in terms of time and money because the breeder will have to travel to check and buy it desired crops.
  2. Selection is tedious and time-consuming.
  3. It requires expertise which may not be available.

Breeding or Hybridization

The hybridization method is one in which two species of two different plant varieties produce offspring.

Types of breeding

In-breeding: This is the pollination and fertilization of plants that are closely related in order to retain certain desirable characteristics.

Crossbreeding: This is the fertilization of unrelated plants belonging to different breeds. This result in the production of offspring which is superior to the average performance of the parents. This is called hybrid vigour "heterosis"

Advantages of Breeding

  • Production of the pure line(inbreeding)
  • Offspring can withstand variation in the environment (cross-breeding)
  • It is able to produce superior offspring resulting in a hybrid figure (cross-breeding)

Disadvantages of breeding

  • It may lead to poor or low resistance to diseases attacks (inbreeding)
  • There may be dropped production or yield of crops in terms of quantity and quality (inbreeding).

Method of Improving Crop Productivity

  • Crop Improvement Methods
  • Control of diseases of crops
  • Use of good crop varieties.
  • Control of pests in crops
  • Use of manure and fertilizers
  • Proper timing of planting
  • Use of resistant varieties 

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