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Increase convergence between lab and field

Scientists discuss issues affecting plant health at National Symposium at Nauni varsity

Efforts must be made to increase convergence between labs and fields to become more field-friendly. As plant health affects the whole agri-horticulture sector, therefore an ideal combination of local. indigenous and modern strategies are needed to ensure proper plant health. Amitabh Avasthi, Horticulture Secretary of Himachal Pradesh expressed these views while addressing the inaugural session of the two-day ‘National Symposium on Confluencing Indigenous and Modern Strategies for Plant Health Management’ at the Dr. YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni on Friday.

The symposium is being organized under the aegis of the Himalayan Phytopathological Society and the Department of Plant Pathology of the university. Eminent scientists and researchers working on different areas of plant health management from ICAR-National Institutes, reputed universities and agrochemical industries are attending the event.

The Horticulture Secretary said that it was important that the experience of the farmers must be accommodated into the system as they are the real masters and eventually the technologies and strategies will have to be adopted by them. He urged the scientists to keep the issue of the farmers in mind and also stressed on the need to ensure the proper plant health of planting material.

Professor Rajeshwar Singh Chandel, UHF Vice-Chancellor who was the Guest of Honour said that we need to narrow the gap between indigenous and modern technologies and check how the practices which are prevalent are relevant in today’s times. Prof. Chandel said that there is a need to address how some agricultural produce from our country, which has low average agrochemical usage as compared to developed countries, often show high traces of residue above the maximum residue level. He also gave the example of Himachal Pradesh, which through its natural farming movement has shown the way towards scientifically backed sustainable and environmentally friendly natural farming practice which have been successfully adopted by thousands of farmers and have ensured good returns at a lesser input cost.

Earlier, Dr. Sunita Chandel, HOD of Dept. of Plant Pathology and President of HPS informed that the symposium aims to provide deep insights on different aspects of plant health management and the forum will focus on advocating the importance of plant health among the scientists, farmers and industry. The symposium would outline the potential role of traditional and current technologies in deciphering combined stress tolerance in plants. Emerging plant health challenges such as the impact of climate change, loss of biodiversity, the rapid emergence of new pests and diseases, soil health, and other challenges will also be addressed in different sessions.

With the increase in world population, the pressure on agriculture production systems has also increased and plant health plays a vital role in ensuring sustainable agriculture and food security across the globe. Plants are continuously being challenged by biotic and abiotic factors that reduce the quality and quantity of produce which calls for sustainable management strategies to ensure plant health.

Symposium themes

Plant health management under natural and organic crop production, Bioactive compounds in botanicals and plant defense, Plant health management strategies under changing climate scenario, Mushroom cultivation for nutrition and livelihood; Biotechnological approaches for plant disease management; Artificial intelligence and IoT-based approaches in plant disease management; Plant quarantine, biosecurity, certification and seed health and Farmers-Scientist-Industry interaction and technology demonstration.

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