Statistical Research Issues in Crop and Cropping System Experiments for Enhancing Food Security Support
Food security is essential to maintain the human population and the environment. The strategies for food security must take into consideration the human population dynamics and dynamics of natural resources, plant and animal populations on which human survival depends. It is essential to look into effective options for search and conservation of crop and animal germplasm, along with necessary genetic modifications to develop new seeds and suitable embedding of the new seeds in cropping systems for high and sustainable productivity. At almost every significant stage of technological development, statistical designs to gather valid and efficient evidence (data) and methods of assessment of the evidence are needed to form decisions on the technologies. This presentation is restricted to the crop and cropping system aspects of experiments. The statistical issues related to the following would be discussed: (1) search and maintenance of diverse crop germplasm, (2) evaluation of crop germplasm, (3) cropping systems related to conservation agriculture and crop rotations, and (4) need of crop actuary. In the context of germplasm conservation two aspects of maintaining the germplasm, mini-core selection and focused identification of germplasm strategy will be discussed. The issues related to field experimentation for evaluating moderate to large number of genotypes and methods of statistical data analysis with a view to exploit genotype environment interaction will be presented. The challenges of design and analysis of cropping systems and evaluating the data in terms of productivity and sustainability indicators will be discussed. The role of a crop actuary to mitigate riskiness due to the effect of weather uncertainty on crop production and productivity will also be discussed in brief.