16 May 2023, Telangana: The Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Government of India, Mr. Narendra Singh Tomar inaugurated the Integrated Biological Control Laboratory at the National Institute of Plant Health Management (NIPHM) Hyderabad yesterday.
He emphasized that the use of biocontrol for pests is necessary to overcome the adverse effects of excessive pesticide use in different crops as well as to reduce the cost of cultivation and to increase farmers’ income. He underlined the need that the technologies developed in the laboratory should be taken to the farmers who have the least access to information so that they can be convinced about the benefits of these technologies.
He further emphasized that there should not be any pesticide residue in organically produced agricultural commodities which are being exported to foreign markets to keep up with the brand image of the Country. He congratulated all the staff and officials of NIPHM on the new Integrated Biocontrol Laboratory building and expressed hope that they will rededicate themselves to the cause of taking the technology to the farmers.
The new Integrated Bio Control Laboratory (BC Lab) is a state-of-the-art laboratory in NIPHM, that has facilities for giving hands-on experience on production methodologies for Biopesticides, Biocontrol agents like predators and parasitoids, Entomopathogenic fungi, Biofertilizers, NPV, Pheromone, and Botanicals. The use of bio-control agents, bio-pesticides, and bio-fertilizers will help in reducing the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, consequently, reducing the adverse effects on the environment and human health and contributing to improved Soil and Plant Health. The BC Lab will also have an Insect Museum, weed museum, exhibition hall, Natural Farming Cell, etc. to showcase the specimens of agriculturally important insects and weeds in the best preserved or live forms.
The new Integrated Biocontrol Laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, and the labs are staffed with highly qualified faculty members.NIPHM promotes sustainable agricultural practices such as Agro Ecosystem Analysis (AESA) and Ecological Engineering (EE) for pest management with enhanced use of different biological agents, bio-pesticides, and bio-fertilizers. NIPHM is conducting regular training programs on various aspects of insect pests and disease management in different crops. The training programs are attended by officers working in different states, scientists/academicians from Agricultural Universities, KVKs, ICAR institutes, students, farmers, DPPQ&S, and private organizations.
Amongst several capacity-building programs offered by the NIPHM, important ones on Plant Health Management are the Post Graduate Diploma in Plant Health Management (PGDPHM), Certificate Course on Plant Health Management in Organic Farming, Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) for various crops, Field Diagnosis & Management of Plant Parasitic Nematodes, On-Farm production of Bio-inputs, Production protocol for Biofertilizers & Biopesticides, Production protocol for Predators &Parasitoids (natural enemies of insect pests), Production protocol of Entomopathogenic Nematodes, Locust Pest Management, Advances in Weed Management, Quality control of microbial biopesticides., etc.
The inauguration of this facility is a significant milestone in the development of chemical-free sustainable agriculture in India. The facility will help the extension functionaries to promote non-chemical options for pest management in agricultural and horticultural crops. The trained officers shall further train farmers in respective areas to adopt sustainable agricultural practices and promote the use of eco-friendly practices for pest management. This facility will also help in enhancing the knowledge and skills of agriculture officers, extension officers, and farmers in the field of soil health management, organic farming, and natural farming
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