January 25, 2012 admin


LUDHIANA, JANUARY 25 :  A team from the European Commission, comprising Mr. Demetrics Fragoyiannis, FVO Inspector, Dr. John Elphinstone, Senior Plant Bacteriologist (Pest and Disease Identification), the Food and Environment Agency (FERA), U.K., and Mr. Lars Christoffersen, Head of Sector Plant Health and GMOs, Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) of the European Union, visited Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), today.  Welcoming the delegates, the PAU Registrar, Dr. R.K.Mahey provided brief introduction about PAU and highlighted the contribution that it has made toward national food and nutritional security.  He mentioned that Punjab is pest free area as far as the occurrence of brown rot and ring rot of potato is concerned.  These diseases are of great quarantine significance.  Dr. T.S.Thind, Additional Director of Research-cum-Head, Department of Plant Pathology apprised the delegation about the programmes and activities of Department of Plant Pathology.  Dr. P.P.Singh, Senior Plant Pathologist made a presentation on the work done in the project ‘Establishment of Punjab as a pest free area for brown rot and ring rot of potato’.  The delegation members held elaborate discussion with the scientists involved in the project.  Later, the delegation members were shown around the Department of Plant Pathology where Dr. Thind spoke on the fungal diseases of potato prevalent in Punjab.  Dr. S.S.Kang, Professor of Plant Pathology shared information about the viral diseases of potato in Punjab.
            Dr.  Elphinstone emphasized on the methodology of assessing the presence of the pathogen of brown rot disease from soil samples and said that the potato tubers should be diagnosed with precision.  Dr.  Christoffersen discussed about the importance of proper sample size for analysis.  Dr. Fragoyiannis expressed the need to educate the potato growers about the incidence of the disease.  The EPPO maps for the diseases in question were discussed.  The ongoing project on potato brown rot and ring rot was discussed from various angles.
            Dr. L.S.Brar, Director, Horticulture, Punjab, shared that the potato growers in the state are knowledge savvy and well exposed to technology.  He discussed the scenario of potato growing in the state.  He highlighted that Punjab is pest free area for the quarantine pathogens, brown rot and ring rot and is a producer of disease-free potato seed.
            Dr. D.S.Cheema, Dean, College of Agriculture, PAU, Dr. M.S.Gill, Director of Extension Education, PAU, Dr. Jagtar Singh Dhiman, Additional Director of Communication, Dr. P.S.Brar, Head, Department of Vegetable Crops, Dr. Balwinder Singh, Head, Department of Entomology also participated in the discussion.  Faculty members from Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology, Vegetable Crops were also present.
            Later, they visited the laboratories of Plant Pathology and Department of Entomology.  During interaction with scientists, they highlighted that the confirmation that a pathogen is absent in any geographic area must be based on critical examination of all possible aspects.  Those who participated in the discussions included Mr. Bal Mukand Sharma, Executive Chief, MARKFED, Dr. Vinod Pandit, Consultant, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), Dr. V.K.Srivastava, Deputy Director (PP), Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine and Storage, Govt. of India.  The visitors were presented with docket of literature published by PAU by Dr. R.K.Mahey. 

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