12)International Conference calls for research on adapting plants to global warming

At the first International Conference on Plant Nutrition (ICPN 2010) ICRISAT Director General William D Dar yesterday called for the use of basic science in developing plants that could adapt to drought.

 “Being experts in the area of plant nutrition, you are well aware of its intricacies and importance in sustainable food production. Your work in plant nutrition is so critical and important because of the need to ensure food for the more than six billion people on earth today,” exhorted Dr Dar who is also the chairperson of the ICPN Organizing Committee.

He also urged Dr Maarten Chrispeels, Professor Emeritus of Biology, University of California San Diego, USA, who received the ICPN 2010 award  for his work on Aquaporins (proteins embedded in the cell membrane that regulate the flow of water), to help ICRISAT in increasing productivity of dryland crops under the regime of global warming.

Earlier, in his inaugural address on Soil health and Plant Nutrition: Critical Drivers for Food Security, Dr Dar pointed out that merely finding scientific solutions to problems of soil health and nutrition will not help until the knowledge is made available to billions of smallholder and marginal farmers in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa in a cost-effective manner.

“How else will they handle balanced plant nutrition on their farms? Unless scientists and change agents work with farmers, they will not be able to fully appreciate their problems,” he said.

KS Raju, Chairman and Managing Director, Nagarjuna Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd and Chairman Fertilizer Association of India, who was the chief guest for the inaugural session, also urged scientists to deliberate on providing nutrition to farm animals since this adds to the welfare of the smallholder farmer.

Dr Dar concluded that the roadblocks are not at the level of scientific solutions but at the delivery and operational levels. Once the evidence and solutions are in place, convincing policymakers to come out with appropriate policies for sustainable development is critical.

The Conference, which is currently being held at the ICRISAT headquarters in Patancheru, attracted 200 delegates from across the globe. ICPN 2010 is focusing on contemporary issues such as molecular plant nutrition, plant nutriomics, integrated plant nutrition, custom plant nutrition, environment pollution caused by plant nutrition, and policies for effective plant nutrition. The Conference is jointly organized by ICRISAT and Infinitus Agri.

by ICRISAT. All rights reserved.