Selection and Improvement of Food Plants In Relation To Better Nutrition

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Glendon A.H
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The selection and improvement of colonial food plants by plant-breeding should be an essential part of any general plan for bettering the nutrition. of indigenous colonial peoples. Unfortunately, this has not been generally recognized in the past. Where plant-breeding has been provided for in our tropical dependencies, the work has usually been directed towards improving cash crops, such as cotton, probably because of the more immediate results which could be expected in the form of increased revenue. In those colonies where provision has been made for the scientific study of native food crops, the investigations have often been aimed at the direct attack on plant diseases and pests. There is little doubt that had our colonies spent more in the past on the indirect method of attacking plant pests and diseases through the medium of plantbreeding, the health of the food crops and the standard of nutrition amongst our colonial peoples would be considerably higher than it is to-day. In support of this contention one could point out that the plant pathologist not infrequently has to become a plant-breeder himself eventually in order to solve his disease prpblems, the breeding of resistant strains often being' more satisfactory than direct methods of attack, particularly when dealing with the crops of primitive farming
East African Agricultural And Forestry Journal, XII (2), p. 125-127