Day-2 of National Conference on ‘Realigning Indian Agriculture for a Sustainable Future’

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The 3rd National Conference on ‘Realigning Indian Agriculture for a Sustainable Future’ was organized by School of Biotechnology, KIIT-DU and Foundation for Advanced Training in Plant Breeding (ATPBR) in association with Institute of Life Sciences (ILS) and Odisha University of Agriculture & Technology (OUAT) from 10th – 12th March 2022. The second day of the meet featured talks by distinguished scientists and experts on session themes such as Sustainable Crop Improvement, Modern Technology & Biotic Resistance (GMO & Non-GMO), and Sustainable Farming – Agronomy Interventions.  

In his keynote address on ‘Re-setting future priorities in seed industry’, Mr. Ram Kaundinya, Director-General, Federation of Seed Industry of India (FSII) focused on four priorities to enhance the stature of Indian seed industry to the global standards – Development of high performing cultivars, Production of world class seed, Generating IP and Making India an export Hub. Participating at a session on ‘Sustainable Crop Improvement’, Mr. Prashant Belgamvar, Business Director (South Asia), Advanta India Ltd. shared the initiatives taken by his company towards sustainable agriculture.   

Discussing the contemporary scenario of the agriculture industry, Dr. B. M. Khadi, Former Director, University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Dharwad focused on the role played by the GM crops in Food and Nutrition security. The session was chaired by Dr. K.K. Narayanan, Director, ATPBR.

The post-lunch session on ‘Modern Technology & Biotic Resistance (GMO & Non-GMO)’ was chaired by Prof. Tapan Adhya, Professor Emeritus, KIIT School of Biotechnology (KSBT) and co-chaired by Dr. K. K. Jena. Explaining the necessity to improve upon the genetic resistance potential of elite Indica rice varieties, Dr. Jena shared research findings of the experiments he performed on the exotic genes from Oryza species conferring broad-spectrum disease and insect resistance of rice.

Dr. Meera K. Kar, Principal Scientist, ICAR-NRRI, Cuttack highlighted the fusion of genomics and conventional breeding strategies towards breaking yield potential barrier of Indica rice. Dr. Raj Kumar Joshi from Rama Devi University described the up and coming CRISPR-Cas9 technology and the challenges involved in genome editing in plants. His talk revolved around the concept of targeted mutations in the CaERF28 gene conferring anthracnose resistance. Dr. Radhamani Anandalakshmi, Vice President (Research), I&B Seeds Pvt. Ltd. spoke about resistance breeding in vegetables – Modern technology to the aid of Non-GM crops.

The last session of the day – Sustainable Farming – Agronomy Interventions – was chaired by Dr. Arun Pandey, Advanta India Pvt. Ltd. and co-chaired by Mr. V. Ravichandran (Progressive Farmer). Dr. C. L. Gowda, Fmr. Dy. DG, ICRISAT and Co-Founder, GRSV Consulting Services; Dr. Binay Kumar Chowdhury, Chairman, Control Union Inspection and Certification India Pvt. Ltd.; Mr. Shekhar Bhadsavle, Founder and Managing Trustee, Saguna Rice Technique & Saguna Rural Foundation; and Mr. R. S. Hiremath were the eminent speakers in this session.

Mr. Bhadsavle presented an enlightening talk on realigning Indian agriculture through the regenerative farming method of Saguna Rice Technique (SRT). Mr. Chowdhury stressed the role of sustainable certification standards in sustainable farming. He mentioned that sustainability standards are concerned with three key areas – social impact, environmental impact and food footprint. Dr. Gowda gave a detailed analysis of the origins of agriculture. His talk was centered on the various underpinnings of organic farming with an emphasis on approaching the current challenges in the field of agriculture with a balanced approach. Mr. Hiremath explained how the step conversion process helps in overcoming bell curves of pricing by use of dehydration to increase the shelf life of products.

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