VOLUME 9 NO. 1                                                               January - March 2009

UNIVERSITIES

ANANDAGRICULTURALUNIVERSITY,ANAND

Krushi mahotsav
For enlightenment of farming community, 'Krushi Mahotsav-2008', a doorstep extension-modus operandi of State Government visionary programme, was launched from 7.5.2008 to 5.6.2008 throughout the state.

Its focus was mainly on the initiatives to promote innovative technologies adhering to the principle of"More crop and income per hectare." The main themes were Drip irrigation, Agricultural marketing system and Child health-care. There were 227 Krushi Raths. Almost 1 lakh officials of 15 development departments including 502 scientists of Anand Agricultural University were actively involved in the campaign.

During the Campaign, soil samples were collected and Soil Health Cards and Kisan Credit Cards were distributed to the farmers, whereas agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry and shramyogi kits were distributed to the villagers below poverty line. Water-conservation works like khet talavdi, bori bandhs, check dams, village ponds etc. were undertaken in the villages with the participation of rural youth and farmers. Special efforts for promotion of drip-irrigation system were made. The students of AAU undertook mass animal vaccination. Different government schemes like Wadi Yojna, Gokul Gram, Jyoti Gram, E-Gram, Tirth Gram etc. were executed during the campaign. 'Khedut Margdarshika Bhag-4 Rajya Sarkar ni Sahay Yojna' was prepared and distributed to all the villages.

The important activities carried out by AAU scientists during Krushi Mahotsav-2008 in middle Gujarat are as under:



 
BIRSA AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITY, RANCHI

Raise agricultural produce, exhorts Swaminathan
Renowned agricultural scientist, Dr M.S Swaminathan, said that the insurgency in thestate can be checked greatly by increasing the income of farmers and adoption of latest production technologies as well as through generation of income in agriculture, horticulture, dairy, animal husbandry and fisheries. Talking to media persons at BAU on 19 December 2007, he said that Jharkhand has great potential for agriculture and allied activities. There is urgent need to tap that potential to improve the living standards of farmers.

The state is gifted with sufficient rain water, which varies form 1,200 to 1,400 mm annually. However, the unchecked run-off was fast eroding the top soil, making fertile lands barren. Waterharvesting techniques had to be used, and major emphasis has to be laid on conserving waterto maintain sustainable growth of agriculture in the state.

Earlier, giving a special lecture on 'Indian Agriculture Today', DrSwaminathan said that Indian agriculture is at the crossroads. In one sense we have been very successful in increasing the production of basic staples like rice and wheat, on the other the consumption capacity on the part of the economically underprivileged sections of the society is not improving. He emphasized that self-help groups should be encouraged to bolster cooperative farming in the country. He appealed to the younger generation, saying, "Do not treat cultivation as inferior work. You should adopt it as a profession". He added that recent findings bring home the alarming fact that 40 per cent of cultivators in the country would prefer to quit farming if they had an alternative opportunity. "If that happens, what happens to food security?" He asked while warning"the nightmarish experience of famine and rising prices would bring the whole economy down".

Dr N.N. Singh, VC, welcomed Dr Swaminathan. Other eminent persons present were Ms Mabel Rebello, Shri Saryu Rai, MLA, Swami Shashankamand, Shri Ashok Kumar Singh, Member, Board of Revenue, Shri A.K. Sarkar, Principal Secretary, Agriculture; and Dr Suman Sahai, Chairperson, Gene Campaign. Shri M.K. Mandal, former Chief Secretary, Jharkhand proposed a vote of thanks.

32nd IAUAVCs" Conference
Inaugurating the 2-day 32nd Annual Convention of Indian Agricultural Universities Association at BAU on 20 December 2007, Hon'ble Syed Sibtey Razi, Governor and Chancellor of Universities of Jharkhand, said that the slowdown in agricultural growth has become a major cause of concern, although it provides livelihood to more than 70% of the rural people and remains vital for food security. He said that food security and sustainability, which has been one of the major goals to keep agriculture sector out of danger zone, seems to have been fulfilled. However, this feel-good factor seems to be a myth, as we see new and bigger challenges emerging in this most vulnerable sector. Share of agriculture in country's GDP in fact declined from 48% in 1950 to 19% in 2007. The Chancellor further said that the increase in economic integration of the Indian economy with the global processes has brought considerable challenges at the door of its agricultural sector. A number of major crops have witnessed a decline in productivity growth, and side-by-side, the Indian agriculture is facing unfair competition form cheap imports, which has posed a majorthreat to the livelihood of the farming community.

In his address, Prof. M.P Yadav, President of lAUAand VC, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel University of Agriculture and Technology, Meerut, said that more than 50% posts of scientists have been lying vacant in agricultural universities of the country, affecting adversely the growth of this sector. He appealed the state governments to impose 1 per cent tax at all agricultural marketing yards to be used for teaching, research and extension activities in these universities. He stressed the need to extend the retirement age of the VC to 70 years; presently it varies from state to state. He said the processing of agricultural produce deserves due attention, because the post-harvest loss in the country has gone to Rs 80,000 crore per annum and only 2% produce in the country is being processed. Dr N.N. Singh, VC, BAU, welcomed the guests. Besides, lAUAVCs, the first lady of the state Mrs Chand Farhanaji and Principal Secretary to the Governor, Shri Amit Khare, were also present on the occasion.

Farmer-led innovation for sustainable agriculture
Dr R.S. Paroda, former Director-General of ICAR, is of the firm view that agricultural scientists need to engage themselves in researches where these actually matter-the field of farmers. Addressing the inaugural session of the 2-day symposium on 'Farmerled innovations for sustainable agriculture' at BAU during 1-4 December 2007, Dr Paroda said the farmers have a long experience of farming practices, which need to be properly documented for possible further improvement. He stressed that food processing is the need of the hour. At the same time the role of intermediaries should be minimized if not altogether eliminated. The agricultural scientists need to go to the farmers, to learn about practices as well as crops grown by them. Dr Paroda also inaugurated Centre for Agribusiness Management, where a 2-year full-time MBA course has been launched.

Dr. S Nagarajan, Chairperson of Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights Authority, said that most farmers were not getting the reward for the innovations made by them in their own fields. It is the agricultural scientists instead who take the credit. Researches made by the farmers need to be recognized by the government and they should also be rewarded for their innovative feats. He appealed to develop and protect medicinal plants in the tribal regions of the state.

Dr N.N. Singh, VC, too addressed the delegates present at the symposium.

 
G.B. PANT UNIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURE AND TECHNOLOGY, PANTNAGAR

North Zone VCs' meet

The meeting of North Zone Vice- Chancellors was organized by Pantnagar university from 3 to 5 September 2008. The valedictory session was organized at College of Agri-Business Management under the Chairmanship of Dr VK. Suri, VC of Kanpur University. On this occasion Dr Dayanand Deogaonkar, Secretary General, Association of Indian Universities and Dr Basant Ram, VC, NDUAT, Faizabad were also present along with the host VC, Dr B.S. Bisht. This meet was represented by the VCs or their nominees from 20 universities of the zone. The major theme of discussion was Innovations in higher education. The meet was divided into different sub-thematic areas, viz. quality assurance, experiential learning, distance education, e-leaming and capacity building, which were discussed in different technical sessions. The 3-day extensive deliberations by the VCs led to the following recommendations:

  • Acombination of traditional experiential learning approach need to be introduced in higher education system. The teachers should act as facilitators in experiential learning.
  • End-to-end pilot plant projects run by the students under the guidance of the faculty should be launched.
  • Teachers' capacity building is necessary through training and development of skills, including motivational skills, through participation.
  • While deliberating on distance learning, and e-leaming, the conference recommended that for monitoring the quality of programmes a mechanism should be in place.
  • New programmes on distance education should be launched only after in-depth planning and preparation.
  • A minimum entry-level standard should also be adopted while enrolling the students fordistance and e-leaming programmes.
  • The institutions should identify gaps in their system and should structure their activities accordingly.
  • The institutions should provide an enabling environment as a pre-requisite to capacity building.
  • Selection and promotion of the teaching faculty and capacity-building record of the candidates should also be considered along with research publications.
  • Evaluation of HRD requirement and preparedness to meet them, and creation of database of status and resource allocation to education in different Five-Year Plans by the universities is needed for a vision document on higher education for the country.
  • The syllabus should be revised every 3 to 5 years.
  • The autonomy of the university and constitution of an autonomous education commission consisting of academicians should be ensured.
 

JUNAGADH AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITY, JUNAGADH

AICTE accreditation for agricultural engineering education
The College of Agricultural Engineering and Technology was established as one of the constituent colleges of then Gujarat Agricultural University at Junagadh. The college was accredited by ICAR in 1997 and the graduates produced by the college get placement through campus interviews. There has been 100% placement from the collage during the last 7 years. The AICTE-NBA, New Delhi has accredited B.Tech. (Agricultural Engineering) programme of the university for 5 years and M.Tech. (Agricultural Engineering) programme in farm machinery and power for 3 years with effect from 19 July 2008. So far, only 3 agricultural engineering colleges in our country have received AlCTE-NBAaccreditation, and this university is the fourth.

 
KARNATAKA VETERINARY, ANIMAL AND FISHERIES SCIENCES UNIVERSITY, BIDAR

The following programmes were organized by the university as a part of transfer of technology.
Training programme on "Aquaculture"
A training programme on "Culture of carps and freshwater prawn" was organised by Directorate of Extension at Livestock Research and Information Centre, Deoni, district Bidar during 16-18 July 2008. The programme was inaugurated by Shri Revu Naik Belamagi, Minister for Animal Husbandry, Government of Kamataka. Dr S. Mallikarjunappa, Acting VC, and DrH. Shivananda Murthy, Director of Extension, were present. Total 45 farmers from Bidar and Gulbarga districts attended and benefited from the programme.

Training programme on bakery products

A training programme on "Preparation of bakery products and ragi products" for the benefit of farm women on 11 July at 2008 was organized at Dairy Science College, Hebbal, Bangalore. The programme was inaugurated by Prof. S. Mallikarjunappa, Acting VC Dr H. Shivananda Murthy, Extension; Dr B.V. Venkateshaiah, Dean, Dairy Science College, Bangalore; Dr S. Yathiraj, Dean, Veterinary College, Bangalore, and Dr Renuka Prasad, Director, I AH & VB were also present. Total 50 farm women of Bangalore Rural and Chikkaballapur districts were trained through practical demonstrations during the programme.

Field day on Bio-village

A field day on the concept of Bio-village depicting integrated farming systems such as rearing of Deoni cows, turkey, emu, fish culture, green-fodder production and other related aspects were organised at Livestock Research and Information Centre, Deoni, on 14 September 2008. Prof. Suresh S. Honnappagol, VC; Dr H. Shivananda Murthy, DrM. Devaraj, Registrar; and DrS.M. Usturge, Director of Instruction (PGS), attended the programme. About 250 farmers participated and were benefited from the field day.

 

 
PUNJAB AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITY, LUDHIANA

Agricultural education policy
A 2-day Brain-storming session (8-9 March 2008) on Agricultural Education Policy was held at PAU, Ludhiana. About 30 VCs and their representatives attended the event, which was inaugurated by Dr Jai Rup Singh, VC, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, and was presided by DrS.A. Patil, President, lAUAand Director, IARI, New Delhi.

The following recommendations emerged from the eight sessions:

  • There is absolute need to introduce agricultural education right from the school level upward, culminating into vocational courses, with emphasis on deliverables in each course.
  • The states may be encouraged to set up Board of Higher Education in Agriculture forimproving the quality of education.
  • The SAUs should make efforts to improve the entry of students from rural areas in agricultural programmes by reserving of seats for them in agricultural education through legislation.
  • Admission to agricultural programmes in all the private and public institutions should be through common entrance test.
  • There is need to monitor the teaching quality and evaluation, and to re-consider internal evaluation as existed before shifting to external evaluation.
  • The course curriculum should be made demand-driven to prepare the students to face the newly emerging challenges and should lay due emphasis on practicals.
  • The SAUs should have greater option in diverse range of relevant courses for the students, viz Biotechnology, Nanotechnology, Information and communication technology, Space, IPR, WTO, Agri-business etc.
  • For quality education, thrust should be given on Human Resource Development in cutting- edge technology areas as it used to be in the 1970s. No post should be kept vacant.
  • There is need to establish relation or collaboration with traditional universities, NTs, IIScs., IIMsand industry for perfect, wide-range, updated education.
  • There should also be a separate policy on fisheries, livestock and animal husbandry education, integrating education, research and extension.
  • Accreditation process needs to be speeded up and extended to private agricultural colleges. Simultaneously agricultural universities should be equipped to handle the affiliation of private agricultural colleges to maintain the academic standards.
  • Evaluation system should be a combination of both external and internal assessment with 50 % weightage to each. As this is recently recommended, it may be reviewed after a gap of some period.
  • There is a great need of open-door policy to encourage the students and teachers from basic sciences to join agricultural universities and their admission to the agricultural PG courses.

Employment opportunities for women
A research project entitled "An integrated approach to provide employment opportunities to women" worth Rs 54.96 lacs has been sanctioned to College of Home Science by Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India, to empower rural women for large-scale propagation of tissue culture of sugarcane, floriculture, cultivation of button mushrooms and organic cultivation of seasonal vegetables.

Engineering students at Moscow universities
Two groups of students from College of Agricultural Engineering attended 2-weeks training programme in Russia. One group of six students, viz. Aman Ahuja, Gagandeep Singh, Gursharan Singh, Rohit Aggarwal, Saket Goyal and Udit Narula, visited Moscow State University of Environmental Engineering, and the other group of five students, viz. Gurpreet Singh, Rajat Gupta, Sugandha, Vandana Kochhar and Vikas Tiwari, was at Moscow State Agroengineering University (MSAU), Moscow, during this summer. Dr M.S. Kang, VC, had nominated the groups and advised the students to learn maximum from such training for their professional career development. Er. Vishal Bector and Dr A.K. Singh, who coordinated the training and accompanied the two groups to MSUEE and MSAU respectively, elaborated the contents of trainings. The training comprised mainly of field visits, laboratory classes and on-site observations, practical exercises in the area of agriculture and environmental engineering pertaining to conservation of overall ecological system and agro-engineering industries. The students visited and experienced the learning interactions with Russian engineers and professionals at Russia's first pumping water plant, pump stations, agricultural processing industries, irrigation facilities and technologies in Russia, Water-treatment plant, green-houses, dairy industries, community centre of innovation for soybean and various laboratory classes for their skill development Mr Dmitry V. Kozlov, Rector, MSUEE, visited the PAU in March and met Dr M.S. Kang. They discussed the possibility of having greater collaborative activities in the area of academic and research excellence like faculty exchange, post-graduate research rojects, faculty research projects, and distance learning programmes through virtual class-rooms etc. at the two institutions. The details for more activities under the programme are being worked out.

 
SARDAR VALLABH BHAI PATEL UNIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURE AND TECHNOLOGY, MEERUT


NewVarieties
Vallabh Urd
1
The variety Vallabh Urd 1 was developed through mutation breeding of Pant Urd 19, a popular variety in western Uttar Pradesh, by using gamma irradiation. Pigmentation on stem and branches can be used as a marker for maintaining seed purity. It is of 50 cm hieght, flowers in 50 days and matures in 84 days in rainy (kharif) season. The plant bears 110 pods and 6-7 seeds per pod. Seeds are bolder (4.1/g /100 seeds) than of the prevailing varieties of the crop in the zone. The variety Vallabh Urd 1 expressed moderate resistance to insects and pests. It was found resistant to all the common diseases of the area, i.e. yellow mosaic virus, Cercospora leaf- spot, Macrophomina blight, Anthracnose and bacterial leaf-spot. Therefore, Vallabh Urd 1 was identified as a broad-based resistant variety in AICRP trials. The variety also expressed resistance to these diseases in Standard Varietal Trials conducted at RATDS centres of Uttar Pradesh. Its average yield is 10,69 kg/ha, which is 16.29% higher than that of the best check Uttara. It was identified for release in western Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir, at MULLARP Annual Group Meet held on 2-4 May 2008 at SDAU, Sardar Krushinagar, Gujarat.

Vallabh Basmati -22 (MAUB-162)
The rice variety MAUB-162 (IET-19492) has been developed at SVBPUAT, Meerut from a cross of P 1121 xType 3 followed by pedigree selection. The variety is suitable for irrigated ecosystem (all under Agri-Export Zone for basmati rice) in areas of orth western India designated under geographical indication for basmati rice. It is a photosensitive genotype of evolved type MAUB-I62(IET 19492) basmati rice. The variety is erect and of short stature a 90 cm high. It is a semi-dwarf and lodging-resistant variety, flowering in 115 days. Unlike other basmati rice varieties, it has compact panicle, which is completely exerted. It has small awns. It can be easily distinguished with the help of pinkish apiculus at the time of maturity. The average yield is 36.21 q/ ha, which is 27.87 % higher than of Tarori basmati. Being dwarf, it utilizes fertilizers more efficiently, resulting into higher yields at low cost. It also requires less water and performs well under aerobic conditions. The variety expressed all the quality characters of scented rice accepted in the global market; and therefore, it is suitable for export. Test weight is 21 g with kernel length 7.45 mm. Kernel breadth is 1.72 mm with length: /breadth ratio 4.33. Hulling and milling recovery is 60% and 69.37% respectively. Head-rice recovery of the variety is 52.01%. The 100 g long cylinder kernels require 250 g water for cooking. Kernel length after cooking is 14.8 mm, which is more than that of traditional-type Tarori basmati. The variety expressed excellent quality characteristics during evaluation at both the quality-testing laboratories located at DRR, Hyderabad, (A.P.) and CRRI, Cuttack (Orissa). Also, in the panel test at both these laboratories it received excellent acceptability ratings on account of its appearance, aroma, elongation and flaky texture on cooking for all the 3 years required for evaluation under AICRP trials. The rice cooks excellent and remains soft and flaky after cooking. The variety is resistant to gall midge and moderately resistant to RTD, neck blast and bacterial leaf blight (BLB), the common diseases of the zone. It was identified in the 43rd Annual Rice Group Meeting held at IGKVV, Raipur during 12-14 April -2008, for release in U.P. and Haryana for export.

Foreign visits of scientists
(i) Prof. S.K. Bhatnagar, Head (Cell Biology), College of Biotechnology, convened the session on "Charales : from stoneworts to molecular tools" of 11th International Conference on Applied Phycology held on 21-27 June 2008, at National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland. He presented the sessional keynote, emphasizing that the members of order Charales are helpful in
bioremediation, contain anti-oxidative enzymes like land plants and are the best tool for Nano-technological studies,

(ii) Prof. Devi Singh, Dean, College of Biotechnology, participated in a series of mini and major symposia in annual meeting of American Society of Plant Biologists held on 27 June 2008 at Merida, Mexico. He presented a paper on 'Inter-SSR and SSR-based molecular profiling of basmati and non-basmati indica rice' and visited CI MM YT, Mexico also.