CHES- IIHR, Bhubaneswar organized 3 days National Seminar cum Workshop on
“Strategies for improvement, enhancing productivity and utilization of Cucurbits”
Cucurbitaceous vegetable form one of the largest group of vegetables with genetic diversity however, they have not been given due scientific and academic importance and attention as a whole. In recent years, there have been several scientific developments for exploration, collection, conservation, exploitation and post harvest utilization. Despite pan India acceptance huge genetic base and diversified choice of vegetables, there is lack of co-ordinated scientific and academic efforts address the constraints faced in crop production, crop protection and post harvest value addition by contemporary researchers and farming community.
To address these contentious issues, a National seminar cum workshop on Strategies for improvement, enhancing productivity and utilization of Cucurbits was organized by Central Horticultural Experiment Station, Bhubaneswar and SPH, Bengaluru during 8-10th August, 2014 at Bhubaneswar. The meet was inaugurated by Hon’ble Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Huabandary, Government of Odisha Shri Pradeep Kumar Maharathy. Addressing the gathering, Hon’ble Minister called upon the researchers, academicians and students to diversify the scientific programmes to make them farmer friendly and location specific. Expressing his satisfaction over the quality of ICAR institutes works located at Bhubaneswar, he appreciated the kind of cucurbits diversity displayed in the exhibition. He expressed his happiness for Odisha being the host for this crucial National event. In the Key note address the Hon’rable Vice Chancellor of OUAT, Bhubaneswar, Dr Manoranjan Kar stressed upon the need of collaborative and concerted programmes to be undertaken with the support of State and Central governments for standardization of production and protection technologies for the farming community of India. Shri S K Chadha, Director, Directorate of Horticulture, Government of Odisha in his inaugural remarks reaffirmed his support to the research and development of novel interventions. Dr H S Singh, Head, CHES, welcomed the scientific fraternity to the National Meet and expressed the hope that the deliberations during the seminar would translate in to implementable and practical programmes with defined schedules.
Three progressive successful farmers, each from Telangana State, Maharashtra and Odisha State were felicitated by the Hon’ble Minister.
Annex to venue an exhibition on “Cucurbits : Progress & Prospectus” was also organized depicting wide range of diversity available in Indian Cucurbits and their commercial potential for Post Harvest utilization. The hybrid being developed by CHES, Bhubaneswar and the sweet gourd coloured Halwa were the prominent attractions of the exhibition.
The Seminar was participated by the delegates, students and farmers from nine states and 26 institutions. The six technical sessions on PGR, production, protection, utilization, marketing, value addition etc, were conducted. Concurrent session of poster presentations was also organized alongside the respective technical sessions. Participating farmers put forth their requirements, constraints and priorities before august scientific gathering. Based on their feedback, there was recommendation to publish a coloured booklet, in regional language addressing the important production and protection constraints, for free distribution to the farming community cultivating cucurbitaceous crops.
There was a session dedicated to the presentation of scientific research carried out by the students in different universities. Students presented their post graduate research work and the best three were awarded.
Several recommendations emerged at the end of three days of deliberations, during the plennary session chaired by the DDG (Hort.) Dr N K Krishna Kumar and Co-chaired by ADG (Hort.) Dr T Janakiram. These recommendations were mainly focused on the collection, conservation, improvement, breeding and screening techniques, Seeds, Quality planting material, pest & disease management, entrepreneurship development, product diversification, post harvest handling and marketing and future challenges in cucurbit crops.
The delegates and farmers were also taken for the field visits to cucurbit fields in CHES, Bhubaneswar on 9th and 10th of August respectively. For the event, Organizing Secretary was Dr L K Bharathi and Co-organizing Secretary was Dr Pitchaimuthu, Senior Scientist.
Chairing the first ever National Seminar on cucurbits, the DDG (Hort.), Dr N K Krishna Kumar and co chair ADG(Hort.), Dr T.Janakiram expressed their confidence that in coming years all the recommendations emerging out of this seminar will be implemented in veracity and the review of the same would be taken up in the next follow up seminar after 2-3 years.