India Region

ICRISAT Scientist Elected as Chair for the Asian Soil Laboratory Network

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Dr. Pushpajeet L Choudhari, Manager at the Charles Renard Analytical Laboratory at ICRISAT, has been elected as the Chair of FAO’s Asian Soil Laboratory Network (SEALNET) for 2023-2025.

24 November 2023, Asia: The appointment underscores ICRISAT’s experience in connecting global institutes with Asia’s National Agricultural Research Systems paving the way for enhanced soil health.

The election took place during the 7th SEALNET meeting, conducted virtually on 19 and 20 September 2023, under the leadership of Mr Filippo Benedetti, Secretariat at the Global Soil Partnership (GSP), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), with the participation of approximately one hundred representatives from various countries.

In extending her congratulations to Dr Choudhari, Director General of ICRISAT Dr Jacqueline Hughes emphasized the significance of the appointment for fortifying regional food systems across Asia.

“The quality and health of soil are foundational to strong food systems as they directly impact the growth, yield, and nutritional content of crops.

“This collaboration reflects our shared commitment to advancing sustainable soil management practices, and we look forward to working with the FAO and other partners in this endeavour,” said Dr. Hughes.

Dr ML Jat, the Global Research Program Director for Resilient Farm and Food Systems at ICRISAT, stressed the importance of uniform soil laboratory methods in propelling SEALNET’s objectives.

“Drawing on ICRISAT’s wealth of experience and expertise in soil, Dr. Choudhari’s leadership seamlessly aligns with SEALNET’s vision, with a focus on both standardizing soil laboratory methods and fostering informed decision-making” said Dr Jat.

In his new role, Dr Choudhari will also represent the network in meetings and webinars organized by the Global Soil Laboratory Network (GLOSOLAN) and the Center of Excellence for Soil Research in Asia (CESRA).

Working closely with Vice-Chair Professor Derrick Yuk Fo Lai, Associate Professor at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, the regional steering committee, GLOSOLAN leadership, and coordinators, Dr Choudhari plans to encourage registration of regional soil laboratories.

Simultaneously, he plans to support working groups in harmonizing targeted Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

Speaking at a recent event hosted by GLOSOLAN and CESRA, Dr Choudhari highlighted the growth of SEALNET’s membership, now with 140 labs from 19 countries registering since its inception in 2017.

He also stated that SEALNET proficiency testing for 2023 will be led by the Bureau of Soil and Water Management, Philippines (BSWM), and shared details on testing methods for targeted soil parameters.

He also shared that SEALNET plans to have technical experts pilot the Asian Soil Health Action Framework.

This initiative aims to make it easier for countries to report on soil health in the region. It will ensure that data can be compared by creating national action plans within a common regional framework.

“We are committed to enhancing soil laboratory capacity in Asia and supporting the development of soil health policies and programs” concluded Dr Choudhari.

Also Read: Global Fisheries Conference 2023 to be organized in India on 21-22 November at Ahmedabad

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