Published: 24th July 2019
IIT Guwahati with MSSRF and CABI organises a capacity building programme on ‘Becoming a Plant Doctor’
‘Becoming Plant doctor’ under CABI Plantwise programme aims to build the capacities of participants about field diagnosis and operations of plant clinics
Centre for Rural Technology (CRT) of Indian Institute of Guwahati (IIT-G) in collaboration with MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) and Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI) New Delhi organised a week-long capacity building programme on ‘Becoming a Plant Doctor’ from July 15 – July 19, 2019. The workshop was attended by subject-matter specialists from various Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) of Assam and Odisha, researchers from MSSRF, Assam Agricultural University (AAU), National Rice Research Institute (NRRI) and IIT Guwahati.
The core themes of the workshop included Knowledge Management and Capacity Building which would augment the capacity building of the small farmers and associated stakeholders in addressing the issues in enhancing the resilience capacity in the context of climate change. Management of plant health assumes greater importance to reduce the risk in crop cultivation. The current advisory systems available to meet the challenge is inadequate and require a paradigm shift in the approach. Towards this, MSSRF is striving to develop a farmer friendly model in collaboration with CABI for the past eight years. CABI’s model on Plant Clinic is being translated in to action and fine-tuned the systems and approaches in three states. Based on its relevance and usefulness in providing a real-time solution to the farmers in plant health management, efforts are taken to extend the plant clinic programme in the Resilience project by promoting a cadre of Plant Doctors.
‘Becoming Plant doctor’ under CABI Plantwise programme aims to build the capacities of participants about field diagnosis and operations of clinics. Participants were exposed to a variety of crop pests (fungi, bacteria, virus, insect, mites etc.) through presentations, classroom exercises, group exercises and practical sessions. Field samplings were also carried out for live demonstration of various modules. Plantwise is a global programme led by CABI, which works to help farmers lose less of what they grow to plant health problems.
The inaugural address was delivered by Prof T G Sitharam, Director, IIT Guwahati, where he talked about the need for such farmer friendly, science and technology based advisory systems in building the resilience among small and marginal farmers. He also advised the team to develop a potential programme in similar lines on “Becoming a Water Doctor”.
The programme began with the welcome address by Dr Sudip Mitra, Associate Professor, CRT, IIT Guwahati. The goal and objectives of the RESILIENCE Project was explained by Dr Sanjay Kumar Chetia, Principal Scientist, Assam Agricultural University, Jorhat. Dr R Rajkumar, Senior Scientist, MSSRF spoke on the Purpose of the training programme. Prof S K Kakoty, Head, CRT, IITG delivered the special address.
Speaking on her experience after attending the capacity building programme, Subhashree Dihingia, a participant, said, “Very satisfying training programme. It helped us a lot, especially to differentiate & distinguish between different biotic and abiotic damages that occur to plants systems.”
“The training program was very useful. It was very practical; the presentations delivered were very useful for field practitioners,” said Priyanka Dutta, a participant, who shared her experience from the workshop.
MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT), Assam Agricultural University (AAU), National Rice Research Institute (NRRI) and International Water Management Institute (IWMI) are implementing a four year project on Climate Resilience with the financial support of Norwegian Institute of Bio-economy Research, Norway since October 2018. The project is being implemented in the two states of Odisha and Assam. The overall goal of Resilience project is to improve agricultural productivity, adaptive capacity and livelihoods of smallholders to climate and economic changes by building resilience and strengthening the agri-product market value chains.
The trained participants will take this learning forward by conducting the plant clinics in their respective locations on regular intervals. CABI and MSSRF will extend the necessary supports in implementing this process at the field level.