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The Root Crop Industry - Essay Example

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There is evidence to show that the hunter gatherers who gradually became cultivators first began to cultivate those plants that they had gathered in the wild. Foraging for…
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The Root Crop Industry
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Download file to see previous pages Statistics show that around half the world’s production of root crops is consumed as food. These statistics vary from one country to another.
Our ancestors found the first root crops when they were still hunter gatherers, and history is witness to the fact that what these first cultivators found in the wild was what they first experimented with as cultivators. The earliest agricultural system in parts of Africa was based on root crops. Recent studies have shown that the ancient Mayan civilization grew crops such as sweet potato, yams and cassava; so too did some African tribes like the Bantu. Early civilizations in Asia, Africa and South America seem to have been the first to sow and harvest root crops that had previously been gathered in the wild.
“A healthy diet is the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle,” says Dr.Weil. Root vegetables have been described as “some of the most overlooked and underappreciated foodstuffs ......nutritional storehouses, hidden treasures worthy of notice” ( Dr. Weil, drweil.com, n.d.) A large proportion of the world’s food supply today consists of root crops that are also used as animal feed. Industrial products such as starch and distilled spirits as well as a wide range of other minor products also are made from root crops. Around half of the supply of root crops grown globally is used for human consumption. This utilization pattern varies from one country to another, with developing nations using a greater percentage of these crops for food, while the developed nations use a larger percentage for animal feed and industrial use.
Agro climatic factors define where different root crops are produced. Potatoes seem to have first been cultivated in the Andes, but today are grown at lower altitudes and in warmer climates. Sweet potatoes too are grown in a wide variety of climates and altitudes, but yams are mostly grown in Africa. The fact that these root crops that were cultivated by our early ancestors survive as an ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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