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"For Better Efficiency, Biologicals Must Be Tailored to Suit All Kinds of Farm Needs," Says Dr. P.K. Singh, Agriculture Commissioner, GOI

BASAI 2024 emphasized the role of tailored biological solutions while also showcasing innovative strides marking it as a collaborative step towards inclusive agricultural advancements.

Ravisha Poddar
he Biological Agri Solutions Association of India organized its inaugural event, BASAI 2024, on February 27 and 28, 2024.
he Biological Agri Solutions Association of India organized its inaugural event, BASAI 2024, on February 27 and 28, 2024.

The Biological Agri Solutions Association of India organized its inaugural event, BASAI 2024, on February 27 and 28, 2024. Focused on discussions surrounding the use of biologicals for sustainable farming, the event was themed 'Biologicals for the World Agri-inputs Tackling Global Challenges'. Held at the Indian Habitat Centre, New Delhi, it attracted participation from scientists and experts representing various organizations.

Biologicals encompass a diverse range of products derived from naturally occurring microorganisms, plant extracts, beneficial insects, or other organic matter, such as bio-stimulants, bio-fertilizers, bio-pesticides, etc.

The event featured over 15 organizations showcasing their products and offerings. Among the participants were Sun Chemical Services (Spain), CABI, PETA India, Coromandel, Bio Prime, GeoLife, and others.

The event commenced with a welcoming address by Juzar Khrakiwala, Chair of BASAI, who highlighted the organization's growth in recent years. He emphasized how BASAI's ethos aligns with the Prime Minister's vision for food and nutrition security, stressing the importance of national and organic farming given the toxicity of soils, which renders them unsuitable for traditional farming practices.

In an exclusive interview with Krishi Jagran, Khrakiwala expressed, "The government's emphasis on biologicals perfectly aligns with current needs. The biologicals sector is experiencing exponential growth compared to chemical alternatives. We firmly believe that widespread adoption of biologicals has the potential to mitigate the damage inflicted by chemicals on crop health and soil fertility."

Addressing concerns about farmer adoption of new agricultural practices, he emphasized that adoption is not a straightforward process. It is intricately linked to consumer demand, which is influenced by awareness of the benefits of organic and natural farming methods.

Khrakiwala expressed his belief in the central scheme of "Rashtriye Krishi Vikas Yojna" and aims to harness collective efforts to popularize natural farming among stakeholders.

Following the welcome address, the event featured speeches by esteemed guests. Dr Vinod Pandit, Regional Director of South Asia, CABI, delivered the first speech, followed by Dr Deepak Pental, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Delhi.

The session concluded with final remarks from Dr P.K. Singh, Agricultural Commissioner, Government of India. He commenced his speech by outlining the ambitious project of making biologicals a widespread practice. However, he emphasized that regardless of the quality of biologicals, careful consideration must be given to the process of their utilization.

Singh stressed the importance of multi-level actions to increase the adoption of biologicals. He advocated for tailored biological solutions for all crops and conditions, emphasizing the need for stakeholders to ensure that biologicals suit the diverse needs of every farmer.

The first day of the event featured a session on R&D/Innovation in Product Development and Delivery Systems, during which various speakers provided an overview of biologicals and agricultural advancements.

On the second day, discussions revolved around women leadership in biological agri-inputs, regulatory mechanisms of biological agri-inputs, and marketing strategies. This was followed by a CEO's panel discussion and the valedictory ceremony.

A significant highlight of the second day was the launch of the CABI BioProtection Portal in Hindi. This launch received appreciation from experts as it brings CABI closer to a significant portion of Indian farmers.

Dr Ankita Pandey from PETA India also enlightened the audience with insights into non-animal methods for toxicity evaluation of bio-agri inputs. She emphasized how certain animal testing methods are outdated and can be replaced by new and modern techniques that provide more accurate results. Her presentations received applause and appreciation from everyone in attendance.

BASAI 2024 served as a platform for fostering discussions and collaborations surrounding the utilization of biologicals in sustainable farming practices. With insights from experts like Dr P.K. Singh emphasizing the importance of tailored solutions and Dr Ankita Pandey shedding light on innovative evaluation methods, the event underscored the growing significance of biologicals in addressing global agricultural challenges.

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