Wheat is a highly-nutritional and widely-cultivated cereal grain. It’s one of the world’s most important crops and holds the title of the second most-produced grain in the world, beaten only by corn. Wheat provides 20% of the global population’s daily protein intake.
The reason that wheat is such an important dietary staple across so many regions is due to its ability to be produced in different types of soils and climates.
As one of the first grains to be domesticated, modern wheat developed from cultivation starting in the Middle East about 9-11,000 years ago in the fertile crescent of the Middle East. Without a clearly identifiable timeframe, the Neolithic period is identified by the domestication of crops and animals,
which began with the development of farming and endured until the development of metal tools. By 4,000 BC the expanding geographical range of farming resulted in bread wheat becoming a common staple from England to China.
Although rice was more important to the development of East Asian cultures, wheat was the nutritional foundation for cultures in Europe, the middle east and western Asia. Wheat was introduced in Mexico by the Spaniards
around 1520, and to early American colonists in the 1600’s. At that time it was not popular in New England due to the soils and climate, but in the mid-1800s wheat was grown from seeds introduced by migrating Europeans
and agricultural scientists in the area that would later be called the “Wheat Belt.”
The 1830s saw the development of the reaping and threshing machines, allowing farmers to greatly increase their productivity during harvest. The development of the steam engine in the 1880s and the
internal combustion engine in the 1920s increased farmers productivity during both planting and harvesting, and as a result wheat fields became larger.
The world’s wheat production is growing at a CAGR of 2.37 percent for the last six years, and around 70 percent of the total production is dominated by the top five wheat-producing nations. Among Asian regions, China and India are the world’s
second and third-largest wheat-producing countries owing to the large arable land and favorable climatic conditions.
India accounts for about 3.5 percent of the global wheat production. The area under wheat constitutes roughly 14.0 percent of the total area under cereals, and 10.0 percent of the total area under food grains in the country.
The crop is grown mainly in the northern and central parts. It is not of much significance in the south. It is cultivated as a food crop mainly in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, and Rajasthan. Wheat
is the second staple food crop of India and occupies about 29 million acres of land. It is consumed mainly by the people in the north. The wheat grains discovered as a result of Indus Valley excavations at Mohenjo-Daro indicate
that north-western India was one of the ancestral lands of this cereal.
The Wheat flour is used chiefly for making ‘bread’ and ‘chapatis’. It is also used for making biscuits, cakes, pastry, and similar articles. Wheat flakes are used as a breakfast food. Wheat is an important ingredient in the making of beer
and other alcoholic beverages. Wheat straw is used for seating chairs, stuffing mattresses, etc. It makes good food for livestock. Wheat straw is also used as a fodder.