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Research Council Meeting at Nauni University Highlights Advancements in Horticultural Research

The 26th Research Council Meeting at Dr. YS Parmar University highlighted advancements in horticultural research, from pioneering apple bud mutants to promoting climate-resilient farming and expanding into exotic fruits like dragon fruit and avocado.

KJ Staff
Research Council Meeting at Nauni University Highlights Advancements in Horticultural Research
Research Council Meeting at Nauni University Highlights Advancements in Horticultural Research

The 26th Research Council Meeting of Dr. YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, was held under the chairmanship of Vice Chancellor Prof. Rajeshwar Singh Chandel. The meeting was attended by Sushil Kumar Singla, Resident Commissioner of Himachal Pradesh in Delhi; Sudesh Kumar Mokhta, Project Director of the Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Development Project and Basu Kaushal, Conservator of Forests in Solan. Progressive farmers and university scientists also participated in the event.

Dr. Sanjeev Chauhan, Director of Research presented an overview of the research activities conducted over the past year. He highlighted the university's success in identifying bud mutants in apples and the ongoing trials for developing new varieties. He informed that the university has established itself as a lead centre in natural farming, gaining widespread recognition for its research in this area. Dr Chauhan said that the university developed modules for the mass multiplication of clonal rootstocks. He shared the university’s initiative in promoting new fruits like dragon fruit, jujube, coffee, blueberry and avocado, the trails for which have started at different locations in the state.

Prof. Rajeshwar Singh Chandel emphasized the need for developing elite planting material for horticulture and forestry plants, considering the priority species of the forests and horticulture departments. He stressed the importance of creating models that can operate in water-deficient conditions and urged scientists to develop small-scale models that can be easily replicated at the farmers’ fields. Prof. Chandel highlighted the significance of climate-resilient agriculture and the potential of natural farming to achieve this goal. He also commended the efforts to popularize underutilized and lesser-known native fruits.

Sushil Kumar Singla, addressing the members, emphasized the importance of involving the private sector in funding research projects and the vital role of community participation in the success of any project. Sudesh Kumar Mokhta linked the state's development to the progress of horticulture, noting that while temperate horticulture has been refined, advancing sub-tropical horticulture will further propel the state forward. He emphasized the need to leverage the state's rich knowledge base in horticulture and quality production to address upcoming challenges in the sector.

The meeting also covered interventions to combat invasive species like lantana, the springshed ecosystem management approach for water conservation and silviculture interventions to manage forest fires. Discussions included the package of practices for nursery raising of different forest plants. Farmers voiced their concerns about the growing apple monoculture and called for educating farmers on diversification alternatives. Topics such as self-sufficiency in seed production, spray schedule implementation, refinement of the cold chain network, risk mitigation and sustainability were also part of the agenda.

During the meeting, six publications were released, including the Package of Practice on High-Density Apple Plantations and Managed Pollination. Progressive farmers Umesh Sood, Shailendra Sharma, Subhash Shardu, Banke Bihari, Vinay Negi, and Mohinder Kumar, along with GIZ Advisor Ajit M. Bhor, Dr MC Rana from CSK HPKV Palampur, statutory officers and university scientists participated in the meeting.

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