Prof A N Mukhopadhyay, noted plant pathologist and former vice-chancellor of Assam Agricultural University on Thursday called upon the botanists and plant pathologists to develop low cost technology for farmers to improve the crop yield in the agricultural sector.
He was speaking after inaugurating a two-day south zone conference on “fungal diversity and emerging crop diseases” being held at B N Bahadur Institute of Management Sciences auditorium.
The plant pathologists and botanists play a key role in shaping the future agriculture sector. They can help for the significant increase in the yield for farmers through low cost technologies, Mukhopadhya said here.
He said the country made a landmark progress in the agricultural field with a total output of 230 million tonnes food grains in 2009-10. In 1950, the country produced only 50 million tonne of food grains.
The nation has witnessed green revolution, blue revolution (pisciulture), white revolution (dairy farming) and others. Though, the food production has gone up, the country’s population is also seeing a manifold growth. The population of the country is expected to cross 1.3 billion by 2025. There are many challenges ahead to maintain the food security for the country, he said.
“Hence, it is important that the pathologists and botanists contribute their might for developing low cost and quality technologies. The WTO and GATT agreements has removed all the trade barriers. We should be produce quality products to compete in the global level,” Mukhopadhyay said.
Unfortunately, he added that MNCs dumped banned chemicals in the country. There are still lot of chemicals like Endosalfun and others which are banned in international level, but continued to be sold in India,” he said and called for greater awareness on the banned chemicals in the country.
He said the biological seed treatment could help the increase in yield by almost 35 per cent. The governments are releasing upto 90 per cent subsidy on bio pesticides.
But, there are numerous companies mushrooming in the country. Many of these companies are selling chemical fertilisers in the guise of bio-pesticides. The government officials and the companies are colluding to cheat the farmers and the government, he alleged.
Mukhopadhyay asked the teachers and students to keep their mind open to work on new technologies and innovation in the field of plant pathology. “The botany department of University of Mysore has produced many scientists whose contribution to plant diseases are extraordinary. The professors and students must follow their footprints and bring laurels to country,” he added.
Vice-chancellor Prof V G Talawar, Prof S R Niranjana, president of Indian Society of Mycology and Plant Pathology (ISMPP), Prof P S Naik, Registrar, University of Mysore, Professor K A Raveesha, chairman, department of botany were present.
The seminar is being organised jointly by Department of Botany, ISMPP and Maharana Prathap University of Agriculture and Technology, Udaipur, Rajasthan.