Hyderabad, December 14, 2023….We live in a country where touching the earth is considered a good omen. Be it a sport like Kabaddi, an artist performing on a stage, a farmer who cultivates the land, touching the earth is practiced from ages. It is an age-old practice in our country. But, we don’t pay much attention to soil health. Instead, a lot of attention is given to producers and production said Dr Sagar Hanuman Singh, DG, NIPHM (National Institute of Plant Health Management, Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture, Govt of India while addressing a gathering at the opening of Bio-Agri conference at HICC, Madhapur on Wednesday.
He was the Chief Guest at the Bio-Agri 2023, a two-day conference on Bio-Agri Industry. 300 delegates from across India and the world are participating in the conference.
The theme for Bio Agri 2023 is “BioAg by 2030 – Miles To Go– Billions to Reach”. BIPA International Journal of Biological Agriculture was launched during the conference. An exhibition was also inaugurated along with the conference and several companies exhibited their products.
Soil gives us so much. In the food pyramid, we must start with soil. We have been abusing soil for the past 70 years with chemical fertilizers due to pressure to feed the rising population. As a result, the soil is now contaminated. It has lost its vigor, vitality, and fertility. This is where soil regeneration has arisen. So keep an eye on deteriorating soil health. Government of India schemes emphasize on soil health, in turn, plant health and human health, he added. Help soil regain its original blissful state, emphasised, Dr Sagar Hanuman Singh, DG, NIPHM
We at NIPHM train farmers how to produce Bio-fertilisers using local resources without using chemicals and technology. Associations like BIPA must discourage fly-by-night operators. More emphasis must be on quality rather than on cheap cost which these fly-by-night operators offer.
In our testing, we found that quite a significant number of Biological products and bio-pesticides do not meet standards. Quite a lot of products contain chemical pesticides, said Dr Hanuman Singh.
Dr. SK Malhotra, Project Director of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research-Directorate of Knowledge Management in Agriculture (DKMA-ICAR) delivered the Bio Agri Conference address. He said the Observers Research Foundation put India in first place compared to G-20 countries in climate-smart agriculture.
He maintained that our production levels rose despite hiccups due to climate change-related problems. The country has adopted climate-resilient agriculture. India now needs to bring back nature-positive agriculture. The Pandemic taught us many lessons. We should now scale up natural-positive food systems that would simultaneously promote crop, soil, and human health, he said.
The good news is that Microbial Bio Stimulants can be registered now. Biostimulant products which are now being regulated under new Gazette Notification guidelines in India he announced
Further, he said by 2047, when India becomes 100 years of being Independent, the government of India will set an agenda to become a global powerhouse for the Food System.
Dr Praveen Rao, Former Vice Chancellor of Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU) spoke about soil health and its importance. We have forgotten 5 Cs. One C is Capability. Without knowing what the soil is capable of producing we are cultivating he said. The second C is the condition of Soil, we should know what best management practices to be adopted. Third C is Capital, the natural capital of soil.
The fourth C is Connectivity and the fifth C is Codification, which talks about the favourable policies, education, governance, etc. Soil health will decide plant health which in turn decides animal health, which subsequently decides ecology health that will have an impact on planet health. In the 1960s fertilizers and water were key areas and now it is soil health he was served.
Dr. KRK Reddy, President of Bio Agri Input Producers Association (BIPA), a 20 years old, non profit body said 90 companies are supporting BIPA
Dr D. R. Venkatesh, Secretary of BIPA gave a report of activities undertaken during the last year. He mentioned that BIPA is the oldest Bio-Agri industry body in the world. He shared that BIPA would be moving into their own office premises next year which was acquired at an investment of Rs 40 lakhs. Govt of Telangana has allocated space on 35 years lease it was informed.
Some of the topics to be addressed during the two-day conference include Bio-abling the future –India opportunity; Global business opportunities in Biologicals, bio-nutrition; Ag-biologicals: opportunities beyond agriculture, emerging technologies and business opportunities, investment opportunities in India, and many others.