Varsity’s 10-day soil conservation awareness programme concludes
Srinagar: Internationally renowned soil scientist and 2020 World Food Prize winner, Dr Rattan Lal, delivered an online lecture on ‘Soil Biodiversity for Sustainable Agriculture Production System’ at Sher-e-Kashmir Agricultural University of Sciences and Technology, Kashmir.
The Indian American professor delivered the lecture online from the USA.
Dr Lal, distinguished university professor of soil science and founding director of Carbon Management and Sequestration Centre at the Ohio State University-USA, was awarded World Food Prize 2020, which is considered equivalent to Nobel Prize in agriculture, for developing and mainstreaming a soil-centric approach to increasing food production that conserves natural resources and mitigates climate change.
Emphasizing on the restoration of soil health, Dr Lal in his lecture said that need of the hour is to improve soil carbon base. He said if the soils are not restored, crops will fail, and humanity will suffer. Earlier the slogan was ‘more NPK’ for better crops but the future slogan must be ‘CNPK’ farming with importance to soil carbon, he added.
Dr Lal’s lecture was part of SKUAST-K’s 10-day soil conservation programme, ‘Soil Biodiversity for Sustainable Agro-ecosystem Functioning’ conducted under the World Bank-ICAR funded National Agricultural Higher Education Project (NAHEP) to commemorate World Soil Day.
Speaking at the valedictory function of the 10-day programme, Vice-Chancellor, SKUAST-K, Prof Mushtaq Ahmed, emphasized on spreading the awareness about soil conservation at the grassroots level to the farmers through the extension system and KVKs of the SKUAST-K, so that they can adopt the ways and means of protecting and nurturing the soil biodiversity at the field level to make it productive and sustainable.
Prof Nazir Ahmad Ganai, Director Planning and Monitoring, and PI NAHEP, while speaking at the occasion talked about the importance of soil conservation and assured full support to the Division of Soil Sciences for any future endeavours.
Director of Education, Prof Syed Masood-ul-Hassan Balkhi, highlighted the importance of soil biodiversity for sustainable agroecosystem functioning.
Head Division of Soil Science presented the summary of the WSD-2020 event conducted by the SKUAST-K. She said 1866 participants from 31 countries participated in the 10-day awareness programme, in which 10 international professors and soil scientists including Prof Rattan Lal, Prof Ingrid Kogel-Knabner, chair of soil science, Technical University of Munich, Prof Cheryl Simmons, Central National Technology Support Centre, USDA delivered lectures.
All the directors, deans of the faculties, associate deans and HoDs participated in the valedictory function. Dr Iqbal Bhat and Dr Shabir Ahmad Bungroo, assistant professors of soil science coordinated the programme.
Student participants were awarded certificates and mementoes for taking part in a painting competition, debates and other activities.