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Consultation Meet on Emerging Challenges in Plant Protection of Major Kharif Crops organised

13th August 2022 Chandigarh

One day Consultation Meet on Emerging Challenges in Plant Protection of Major Kharif Crops was organised by the ICAR-Agricultural Technology Apllication Research Institute, Ludhiana at Chandigarh on 13.08.2022 with objectives of to take stock of current Kharif season crops in northern states and to know real time status of pest and diseases in kharif crops and develop strategies for their effective management.

During this meet, experts from diverse backgrounds viz. ICAR Institutes, agricultural Universities, KVKs and Industries including officials of state department of agriculture shared their experiences on emerging challenges in current Kharif season crops in north India. They discussed plant protection measures of current Kharif season crops viz. paddy, cotton, maize and sugarcane of Punajb, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi. The major challenges in Kharif season crops are whitefly and Pink Ball Worm (PBW) in cotton, stunting growth and yellowing of leaves in rice, top-borer and Pokkah Boeng in sugarcane and Fall Armyworm (FAW) in maize were deliberated in details by the experts.

In his address, Dr. A.K. Singh, Deputy Director General (Ag Ext), ICAR and Agriculture Commissioner, Govt of India said that maize is seen as alternate crop to paddy and mustard can also to some extent claim wheat area. He informed that pulse revolution is happening in this country by the efforts of all stakeholders. He emphasised that cultivation of maize, mustard and moong (3M) should be promoted to boost farmers' income and attain self-sufficiency in edible oils. Dr. Singh also emphasised the need for adoption of the modern technology and called upon agricultural research Institutes to develop protocols for different crops for agri-drones. He informed that Government of India has sanctioned 300 Kisan drones under Agri-drone project to the ICAR for conducting 75000 demonstrations by KVKs, ICAR Institutes and Agricultural Universities during 2022-23. He asked that KVKs should send regular crop advisories to the farmers and only quality advisory should be sent as each advisory has lot of economic value. Kisan Sarthi portal has been developed by the ICAR and more than 36 lakh farmers registered on this portal and all ICAR Institutes are also on this portal to address the farmers’ queries. He also advised that contingency planning should be done well in advance for the benefit of farmers. He cautioned that farmers should be advised against the indiscriminate use of pesticides. He visualized that such interface meeting help in knowing the farmers voice from grass root level and the solution discussed during such meeting can help in percolating the recommendations at village/block level.

In his remarks, Sh R G Agarwal, Chairman, Dhanuka Group stressed on the need for the adoption of ‘Integrated Crop Management' practices, usage of modern technology and quality agri-inputs. This will help address critical issues pertaining to different crops cultivated across the country. We need precision agriculture today, to enhance crop yield and income of our farmers," Agarwal said. Technology has to play an important role in it and therefore the farm sector is embracing drones and other technologies in a big way, he added. He remarked that Unfortunately, India's agri-input market including the agrochemical segment is saddled with lower quality and sub-standard products. In the interest of the farmers, it is imperative to tackle the menace of inferior agri-inputs on priority so as to ensure the government's noble objective of doubling the farmers' income.

Sh. Hardeep Singh, Director General, Department of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare, Haryana informed that there is attack of whitefly and PBW in cotton area, stunting growth of paddy also reported in Ambala and Yamunanagar districts of Haryana. Officials of state department and scientists of KVKs are in the field who are providing technical support to the farmers. He also shared the preparedness of agriculture department for rabi season also. He emphasized that diversification is the top priority of state government and we are planning to develop scheme to promote diversification along with value chain so that the problem of glut can be sorted out.

Dr. Gurvinder Singh, Director, Agriculture, Punjab informed that the vegetative growth of cotton is slow due to many reason and advisories are being sent to farmers for boosting the crop in many pockets. However, there are problem of white fly and PBW in cotton crop and effective measures are taken to reach the unreached. For effective dissemination, our teams are in the field even in Holidays working tirelessly and providing solutions to the farmers. He visualized that the cotton productivity may be less due to poor growth but this can be compensated with rise in prices of cotton in market. There is also some problem reported in rice crop about stunting growth and researchers from PAU are looking for solutions of this emerging problem.

Dr. Rajbir Singh, Director, ICAR-Agricultural Technology Application Research Institute (ATARI) moderated a crucial session on interaction with KVK scientists about emerging challenges and solutions of current Kharif crops. In this session, panellist Dr. Ashok Kumar, Director of Extension, PAU, Ludhiana; Dr Sai Dass, Former Director, IIMR, Ludhiana; Dr. Sunita Pandey, Deputy Director, Directorate of Plant protection, Quarantine and Storage, Faridabad and Dr. A.S. Tomar, VP (R&D), Dhanuka Agri Tech shared their views as panellists in the session. This is the first time a national-level consultation meet is being organized in association with a private sector to boost public-private partnership as envisaged by policy makers.

Dr. Subhash Chander, Director, ICAR-National Centre for Integrated Pest Management (NCIPM), New Delhi suggested that farmers would benefit immensely by adopting integrated pest management techniques and it needs to be adopted in a holistic manner in Paddy, Cotton, Maize and Sugarcane. Dr. Sujay Rakshit, Director, ICAR-Indian Institute of Maize Research (IIMP), Ludhiana emphasised that diversification of crops is the need of the hour and maize is the good candidate for diversification in paddy grown area. He advised that cultivation of short duration crops would also help the farming community a great deal.

Dr. M.R. Singh, Principal Scientists, ICAR-Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research (IISR), Lucknow suggested various plant protections measures in sugarcane crops whereas Dr. Rishi Kumar and Dr. S.K. Sain, Principal Scientists from ICAR-Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR), Sirsa provided solutions to various pests and diseases of cotton crops in north India.

In this meet, scientists from ICAR-IIMR, Ludhiana; ICAR-NCPM, New Delhi; ICAR-CICR, Sirsa; ICAR-IISR, Lucknow; PAU, Ludhiana; officials from state department of Agriculture, Punjab & Haryana, Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine and storage; Faridabad including more than 65 scientists of 33 Krishi Vigyan Kendas (KVKs) of Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi participated physically and more than 200 scientists from other parts of country joined virtually .

(Source: ICAR- Agricultural Technology Application Research Institute, Ludhiana)