Dr. M.P. Srivastava, delivering an invited Keynote Address on “Plant clinics hold key to food security” on Aug 29, 2013 at Beijing in 10th International Congress of Plant Pathology, advocated creation of well-organized clinics modeled on human clinics to ensure food security to ever growing population in Asia. The Congress was organized by Chinese Society for Plant Pathology under the aegis of International Society of Plant Pathology, currently headed by Dr. Greg Johnson.Photo: (L-R) Dr Greg I Johnson, President, International Society of Plant Pathology and Prof. M. P. Srivastava, Ex-President, Indian Society of Plant Pathology.
The focus of his lecture was towards mitigating huge losses due to plant pests and enhancing productivity through diagnostic and advisory support of plant clinics. Approximately 40% of the produce is believed to be lost worldwide by plant pests, for want of timely diagnosis and advisory support. Saving even one percent loss can feed the millions according to Oerke, 2006.
He called upon the participating nations to create well-developed, multispecialty, farmer-centric clinic on lines of human clinic in rural areas too like primary health center so that farmers get right diagnostic and mitigatory advice in time. The clinics need to provide7x12 services free of cost on plant health and ailments and innovations to achieve higher productivity. He also stressed on organizing plant health camps, monitoring pest scenario, issuing pest alert and keeping vigil on pest incursion and empowering farmers with knowledge to tackle pests. He urged that during epiphytotics outbreak ‘Clinic on wheels’ must help the farmers in rendering on the spot advice. He underlined the need of maintaining database, networking and impact analysis and tango with research, government and pesticide dealers for optimizing techno-resources. Communication with farmers needs to be invigorated though print, electronic devices, toll-free telephony, e-mails, SMSs and social media. He also highlighted the role of innovative publications – Plant Disease Warning, Plant Pathology Courier, amongst others in keeping pests at bay. Around a thousand delegates across the world attended the lecture.
Concluding his address, he said, “creating such clinics with difference, modeled on human clinics, providing wide range of plant health services at zero cost, shall symbolize quintessential ‘plant clinic/hospital’, empowering farmers to improve food security and plant doctors commanding same status and recognition as physicians in the society.
His mission is to popularize plant clinic globally, more so in Asia to boost food security, where ever-growing population pose serious threat to Food Security. It is in this context, he had earlier organized an Evening Session on Plant Health Clinic in 2008 in 9th ICPP2008 at Turin, Italy.
Dr Srivastava has been Director Planning & Head Plant Pathology at Haryana Agricultural University, retired a decade ago but continues to promote Technology transfer & more importantly Plant Clinic in augmenting food security. Currently he is offering online advice on establishment of plant clinics, diagnosis and remedial measures for various diseases and pests and delivering invited lectures on plant health, plant clinics, pragmatic control of plant diseases and allied issues