COIMBATORE:In the backdrop of Kerala government’s accusation that vegetables cultivated in Tamil Nadu contain more than the permissible limit of pesticides, the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) has renewed an MOU with a research centre to develop safer pest-control technologies.
TNAU is undertaking multi-dimensional research to develop more eco-friendly and consumer-safe pest control methods that farmers can adopt. It is collaborating with Sun-Agro Biotech Research Centre (SABRC), which is also developing eco-friendly crop protection technologies like bio-pesticides, bio-control agents and insect-trapping systems, besides studying their impact on the environment. SABRC has internationally experienced experts to conduct its research, TNAU said in a release.
Through this collaboration, which has now completed three years, several promising leads have been found to evolve widely adoptable eco-safe pest management methods. These include extended shelf life of the bio-control agent trichogramma, enhanced potency of botanical bio-pesticides based on sweet flag, more efficient pheromone trap designs to attract pests like fruit flies and crop borers.
The TNAU-SABRC collaboration agreement was renewed on Friday by signing a fresh MoU for the next three years. While Registrar C R Anandakumar represented TNAU, S Sithanantham represented SABRC, the release said.
They expect to jointly develop more eco-friendly pest-control methods in the near future so that farmers have a wider choice.
The release also said that that farmers in Tamil Nadu are geared to shift from using chemical pesticides. This would make farming more sustainable and ensure that the produce is safe for consumers.
They are also aware of the profitability of market-oriented cultivation, especially of growing of horticultural crops, which require safer pest-control practices. Organic farming is also gaining popularity as a way of sustaining natural resources at the farm level, the release added.
New Crop Boosters
The Tamil Nadu Agricultural University has developed crop boosters to improve yield in pulses, sugarcane, cotton, maize and groundnut.
The Department of Crop Physiology of TNAU, which has earlier developed Coconut Tonic for the benefit of coconut growers in Tamil Nadu and adjoining States of Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, has now developed few more crop boosters to improve yield in pulses, sugarcane, cotton, maize and groundnut. These boosters will increase the growth, yield and quality of crop.
TNAU’s ‘Pulse Wonder’, a booster with nutrients and growth regulators for pulses, will decrease the flower shedding and increase the yield up to 20 per cent, and increase drought tolerance.
Similarly, ‘Groundnut Rich’ is a booster with nutrient and growth regulator for groundnut crops which will help more flower retention, improve pod filling, increases pod yield up to 15 percent, apart from improving its drought tolerance, the university said in a release.
‘Cotton Plus’ is also a booster for cotton crops which will reduce flower and square shedding, improve boll bursting, increase yield up to 18 percent and improve drought tolerance. ‘Sugarcane Booster’ will enhance cane growth and weight, improves internodal length, increases cane yield up to 20 percent, apart from increasing its sugar content. This booster also increases drought tolerance level of sugarcane crop, it added.
The release further said, ‘Maize Maxim’, will improve grain filling, and also increases grain yield up to 20 percent apart from improving drought tolerance.
The ‘Coconut Tonic’ will increase the chlorophyll content and greenness of leaves, improve photosynthetic efficiency of leaves, decreases button shedding, increases number and size of nuts and yield up to 20 per cent.