The Three Crops That Humans Rely On For The Majority Of Nutrients And Calories

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If you want to learn about an important global issue, consider the three crops that humans rely on for the majority of nutrients and calories: rice, wheat, and corn. According to World Food Programme statistics in 2013, these crops have provided over 60 percent of our total food. Things are changing in China though with production reaching a new high thanks to the implementation of high-tech farming techniques.


Three Staple Food Crops Humans Rely On For The Majority Of Their Nutrient And Calorie Needs In The Developing World

Grown mostly in developing countries, rice, wheat and maize are three crops that provide the majority of the world’s nutrients and daily calories.

White grain is mostly associated with Asian people and Asian restaurants, but for years now it has been used in all types of cooking: soups, salads and sandwiches to name a few.

More than half of the world’s population consume these food staples every day. The FAO estimates that in 2013, an area of 5,356,000 hectares (1.2 million acres) was used to produce 834 million tons of rice. Globally, governments and consumers are looking at using these traditional crops in their diet more often.

Other than that, there are two other crops/ crop varieties that form the backbone of agricultural productivity in developed countries.

Corn, also commonly referred to as maize, is a very versatile crop. In conventional farming, seeds are used in the production of many things, including cattle feed and ethanol. They can also be ground up and used to make cornmeal, a food item that was traditionally commonly eaten by almost half of the American nation – including those in Latin America.

Wheat, on the other hand , is used extensively in baking. As flour, it is used for biscuits, cakes and many processed foods. This crop is also widely eaten in many different nations within the United Nations, with it being typically consumed by at least 60 percent of the inhabitants in most parts of the world.


The Importance of Agriculture

With three plant species that have major world-wide significance the question is not if they are being used in ways they were not intended to be, but, how many people are now relying on them for their daily calorie intakes?

Farmer harvesting fresh organic carrots and onion from his greenhouse

A little more than a decade ago, it was estimated that the average person ate about 16 kilograms of products every year – a small number. By 2009, that number had risen to 28 percent of the world’s agriculture resources—an astounding jump.In 2009, an estimated 350 million tonnes was produced to feed farmers and more people globally.

Unfortunately, the most recent increases in population growth have created a demand for high yields. With over a billion people pining for wheat, rice and maize, more food, organic material, small farmers have received requests to increase yields in agriculture.

According to some studies published in university documents, the environmental impacts of global warming and climate change have also affected agriculture. These three crops are often paired by farmers, children, and women with:

  • vegetables
  • potatoes
  • milk
  • meat

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