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 Protection from Diseases and Pests  

Crop plants suffer from a large number of diseases caused by microbes such as fungi, bacteria and viruses. A lot of physical damage to crops is caused by animals such as cattle, rodents, birds, insects, caterpillars and worms. The microbes and these animals are collectively called as pests. They also suffer from deficiency diseases caused by the lack of one or more nutrients.

How devastating some of the diseases are, can be evident from the examples of great famines caused by fungus, i.e. the Bengal famine in 1942, when vast areas of rice fields were affected and the Irish famine in 1945 when potato fields were affected. 

Diseases can be transmitted in the following ways:

(i) through seeds or seed borne (harmful microbes in the seed),

(ii) through soil or soil borne (soil has the disease-causing factor),

(iii) through air or air borne (microbes in air),

(iv) through water or water borne (water is the carrier of microbes), and

(v) through a vector, i.e. an organism (insects) that carries the disease-causing microbe but is itself not harmed by it.

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