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One of the major environmental
concerns we have today is the loss of biodiversity within our crops. As trends
continue in this direction we may lose almost half of the plant species that we
have today. The crops we have today such as wheat, maize, rice and sorghum are
endangered. Along with the cereal crops, legume species and botanical families
such as potato, tomato etc. are also threatened. Therefore, by using crop
genetic diversity we can help to protect the environment. Crops that are
already resistant to some pests and diseases due to their genes make using harmful
pesticides unneeded. Similarly, plants that are resistant to drought as
mentioned previously will be able to help conserve water storages. Furthermore,
plants with perennial roots help with maintaining top soil and absorbing
nutrients which means reduction in fertilizer use. If all measures and
precautions are taken to conserve the diversity of crops than maybe less land
is actually needed to produce the same amount of food. Therefore, less
deforestation and clearing cutting is needed for more farm land.

diversity is also important in maintaining not only the quantity of food
produced but also its quality. Enhancing the nutritional value of crops is
known as dietary diversity. By using genetic diversity and modification we can
produce crops that have higher levels of nutrients such as vitamins and
minerals or even with less toxins. Research has already been done that has
increased the beta-carotene in sweet potatoes, the iron and zinc levels in
beans and reduced the levels of neurotoxins in a species of grasspea. Altering
the genetic makeup of crops is highly beneficial in acquiring beneficial
nutrients from it.

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is a booming industry due to its high economic value, especially in developing
countries. The growth of a country is shown to be related to its agricultural
productivity, therefore more agriculture means more money. This industry is
highly beneficial for poverty stricken individuals. Almost 70% of the world’s poorest
people’s livelihoods depend on agriculture. Therefore, in order to maintain the
effectiveness of this industry, maintaining crop diversity is highly important.

Crop diversity allows farmers to produce crops that give higher yields, with
improved nutritional qualities that are preferred by consumers. The genetic
diversity of crops allows farmers to breed crops that can be stored longer or
transported easily. Once again, they can breed crops that are resistant to
pests, insects and diseases and thus being protected from crop failure and less
risk of economic loss. Some scientists believe that crop diversity is a major
weapon at the disposal of humans to fight against hunger and poverty.

            The use of crop diversity allows
farmers to develop new agricultural systems that result with the least
environmental impacts. Some parts of the world are able to recognize the
importance of maintaining crop diversity and having taken measures to protect
it. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has announced to secure crop diversity by the year
of 2020 in order to preserve food security as well as nutrition. The United
Nations Sustainable Development Goals Target 2.5 states that “By 2020 maintain the genetic diversity of seeds,
cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and their related wild
species, including through soundly managed and diversified seed and plant banks
at the national, regional and international levels, and promote access to and
fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic
resources and associated traditional knowledge, as internationally agreed.”