Thursday, March 3, 2011


LUDHIANA, MARCH 3(Anmol Singh)

The three-day Indo-US workshop-2011 on \'Precision agricultural techniques and technologies\' concluded at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) , today. A panel discussion on \'Planning for future synergism\' was organized in the closing session held at the PAMETI Auditorium on the PAU Campus. Dr. Dwayne Westfall, Professor at Colorado State University was the panel moderator. The workshop was jointly organized by PAU in association with Colorado State University (CSU), Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) and India Science and Technology Partnership (INSTP).

The objective of the workshop was to identify needs and new directions for precision agricultural research, the potential collaborative teams, and the funding sources, which were highlighted during the session, which saw the participation of the seven panel members – Dr Newell Kitchen, President of American Society of Agronomy, Dr Manjit Singh Kang, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, Dr Raj Khosla, President, International Society of Precision Agriculture, Dr Craig Beyrouty, Dean, College of Agricultural Sciences, CSU, Dr M.B.Patil, University of Agricultural Sciences (Raichur) and Dr M.L. Jat, Senior scientist-Asia Office, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), Delhi.

Dr. Kitchen said that the needs with respect to precision agriculture issues are similar in India and US. He thanked Dr. Kang for organizing the workshop where experts from US and India could interact on this important subject. We are building a business incubator of science of agriculture and precision agriculture through collaborative efforts, said Dr. Kitchen adding that a trust should be built through face to face and one to one relationship.

Dr. Kang while acknowledging the collaboration between PAU and Ohio State University (OSU) said that the Indo-US cooperation has been ongoing at PAU since the inception of the University in 1962. He traced history as to how India could offset the view of Paul Ehrlich that India can not be saved, through agricultural development for which the Indo-US collaboration played a turning point. Dr. Kang mentioned that the varieties of wheat brought by Dr. Norman Borlaug were adopted by PAU that led to attainment of self-sufficiency in wheat in 1972. Dr. Kang said that from the standpoint of food, the world must be considered as one civilization and all the teams should work collectively towards practical and concrete outcome of benefit to humanity. He complimented Dr. Khosla for his positive cooperation with PAU that led to the organization of the present workshop. He said that there are always possibilities through collaboration in mutually beneficial areas. We are planning to extrapolate the already identified programmes to include students and scientific exchange as well. Dr. Kang described the holding of the Indo-US workshop as a beginning and expressed confidence that the things will progress toward addressing the real issues.

Dr. Beyrouty, in his remarks emphasized the need of inter-disciplinary approach in different programmes oriented toward precision agriculture. He also expressed concern on the benefit-cost of different programmes which should be addressed as system so that safe, secure and accessible food from farm to table. He also highlighted that the research results are of use to other scientists only if these are documented and published. The multi-institutional precision agriculture research in mutually beneficial areas across disciplines hold great relevance, said Dr. Beyrouty adding that the programme should also have annual faculty recognition to motivate others. He identified communication network, co-authored publications, joint funding collaboration as key areas for collaboration for developing relationships.

Dr. Khosla said that the seeds of Indo-US collaboration were sown in 2006 with the launching of agricultural knowledge initiative (AKI) project and added that the collaboration grew further that had several professional visits of US scientists to India and vice a versa. Funding is vital for progress in research, said he adding that the issues and gaps existing in the system must be bridged to make collaboration a win-win situation. Dr. Khosla said that in view of common challenges, mutually beneficial areas need to be identified. He invited the participants to write winning proposals on different areas of precision agriculture which he said was 360o wide.

Dr. Patil thanked PAU for its initiative in the area of precision agriculture. He called PAU as a big brother for all State Agricultural Universities in India. The awareness campaigns should be initiated to take the results to the field, said Dr. Patil adding that the farming community must be trained for making their lives better.

Dr Neil Hansen, Professor of Soil and Water Management, CSU, presenting the wrap up of the proceedings, said that the focus should be on the education and out-reach efforts to employ the precision agriculture concepts on small sized farms. Besides, the thrust should be laid on connecting the concept of precision agriculture with the food security issues, application of remote sensing to enhance agricultural production and natural resource conservation, developing a geo-stationary satellite dedicated to use for enhancing agricultural challenges in India by engaging Government of India in developing the associated programmes, and initiating a service-based component to address the challenges of extending results from the project. The other focus areas highlighted were the student and faculty exchanges, development of precision agricultural machinery, precision conservation and ecosystem services (including soil microbial communities), precision crop improvement (nutrient and water use efficiency), sensor development (including stress detection, crop protection), working towards enhancing use and access to existing remote sensing data, precision crop growth monitoring and condition assessment, etc.

To make precision agriculture ubiquitous, there is need to identify issues, analyze them and prioritize the areas in system perspective in a collaborative mode said Dr. Jat. As the farming is changing, the research and extension programmes can influence the change, added he adding that the programmes on precision agriculture should not be viewed in isolation but integrated into a system.

In his closing remarks, the panel moderator, Dr. Westfall said that the precision agriculture is a developed technology in the US as it has been adopted by the industry. Similarly, industry has to grab and make the concept of precision agriculture a success in India also for the progress of the farmers, stated he. Emphasizing on the 'team objective,' the experts laid stress on the need to bring together diverse cultures and disciplines to collaborate for building the business incubator of the science of agriculture. The experts, during the three-day workshop, deliberated on different issues concerning precision agriculture through ten technical sessions. The participants hailed from different profiles of society including agricultural universities, farm equipment manufacturers, agricultural industry, etc. They also visited School of Agricultural Biotechnology, Electron Microscopy and Nano Science Laboratory, and Museum of Social History of Punjab.
News From:

No comments:

eXTReMe Tracker