1st International Conference on Plant Protection
1st International Conference on Plant Protection Sciences (ICPPS-2022) was organized by Sindh Agriculture University Tandojam Pakistan on 29-30 March 2022. The conference was organized in hybrid mode wherein, over 300 participants joined which included; Dr. Syed Asadullah Shah from Malaysia, Dr. Marshall from Netherlands, Dr. Hisham Naseeruddin from Sudan, Noor Muhammad Baloch, DG Research, Dr. Yubak from FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Dr. Anne-Sophie from the FAO Headquarters in Rome Italy and a large number of experts, farmers and students attended physically whereas, many participants from Egypt, Australia, China, India, Azerbaijan, Bangkok, Malaysia attended virtually.
The Vice Chancellor of the University Dr. Fateh M. Marri welcomed the distinguished speakers, local and international participants for their attendance in the conference. In his welcome note, he said that most of the land of Sindh is desert but the importance has been given to agriculture in irrigated areas from the very beginning; thus, most of the desert lands have been neglected. Therefore, by focusing on rain-fed agriculture, organic agricultural production can be expanded.
Guest of Honor and Founder Vice Chancellor of Sindh Agriculture University Dr. AQ Ansari said that the farmers believe that the only solution to get rid of harmful pests and diseases in the crops is to use pesticides due to lack of awareness. He added that due to the lack of a system and testing laboratories, the effects of pesticides have not been tested, which raises many questions around the world about our country's agricultural products and their quality.
President ECOSF Prof. Dr. Manzoor Hussain Soomro, in his keynote speech said that the importance of plant protection in agriculture is very vital. He added that the developed countries use natural methods to eradicate harmful diseases and pests from agricultural crops and the harmful effects of pesticides must be studied; however, technical expertise is required in this regard among farmers and related institutions. The title of presentation of Prof. Soomro was “Climate Change- A Challenge for Sustainable Agricultural Production in ECO Region”. In his presentation, Prof. Soomro said that “Climate” is the long-term weather that our planet normally experiences. Since the first industrial revolution of the 1800s, our planet has been heating up at a much quicker rate than ever before – with damaging consequences. As a result of extreme weathers, from floods to droughts across the globe are being experienced. It is also causing glaciers and ice caps to melt, making sea levels rise. Globally, agriculture directly accounts for 13.5 % of greenhouse gas emissions and indirectly for another 17% due to deforestation and land-use change. At the same time, the sector holds a large mitigation potential, mainly through reduced deforestation, soil management and increased productivity. Therefore, the Agriculture is a part of the problem, as well as a part of the solution to Climate Change, he said.
He further said that there is a growing evidence of climate change and its adverse impacts on agriculture in the ECO Region. Unprecedented effects on the region’s water resources, agricultural productivity, and farm incomes are badly under extra stress. And given the region’s wide topographic and climatic diversity, ECO region is prone to various natural disasters, including earthquakes, floods, avalanches, mudflows, landslides, and extreme weather events. The effects of such disasters are likely to become more severe with climate change. The question is, whether the present-day producers- the growers, are capable enough to tackle the challenges of climate change and remain competitive? How to build and enhance the capacity of farmers/growers? Some of them might be unable to even read or write! Opening the minds of growers is a must for building their capacities; and the time-tested methodology or approach has been the inquiry-based and hands-on training of farmers- The Farmer Field School (FFS) approach for understanding the science of climate change and mitigation, use of technologies, skill development, technology use and management as a whole.
The host of the conference, Dean Prof. Dr. Jan Mohammad Marri, said that the conference would focus on agricultural research through expert suggestions, and research by experts from around the world, especially in agriculture, will benefit from pests and diseases, and suggestions on temperature, climate change and the environment.
During the conference, 288 research papers were presented by experts from 17 countries. The experts proposed to formulate a plant protection policy in Pakistan, according to the recommendations made during the closing ceremony of the conference, the risk of new infectious diseases and invasive species in the country is increasing due to non-testing and quarantine of imported plants, seeds, and agricultural products from different countries. It was concluded that unnecessary use of pesticides be minimised and rationalized as they are main cause of various diseases including skin, stomach, eyesight, and respiratory problems in men, women, and children of Pakistan including Sindh, and cancer in rural women.
A Book entitled, “Textbook of Plant Nematology” was also launched during the Conference. The book has been written by Prof. Manzoor Hussain Soomro, President ECOSF together with his two co-authors; Dr. Erum Iqbal and Dr. Firoza Kazi of National Nematological Research Centre (NNRC), University of Karachi, Karachi- Pakistan. The book has been published by the Pakistan Society of Nematologists (PSN) in March 2022.
The book contains 16 chapters covering the latest information on the major fundamental and advanced aspects of plant parasitic nematodes. It includes; basic introduction, global and local historical development of Nematology, as well as its importance in agriculture. Prof. Dr. Manzoor Hussain Soomro also presented the book to the Vice Chancellor, Sindh Agriculture University Tandojam.