Agri Business

Management of cassava pests and diseases through sustainable agriculture

Sajeev Kumar | | Updated on: Jan 11, 2022
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The farming initiative may change the game for tapioca cultivation across hills of Central Travancore

The lush green cassava leaves that grow in abundance within the Mahatma Gandhi University campus tell the tale of a farming initiative that may change the game for tapioca cultivation across the tropical hills of Central Travancore.

In a significant development, the Mahatma Gandhi University in Kottayam has launched a joint research initiative with the Siberian Federal University in Russia to develop smart fungicide capsules for ensuring better yield to the tuber crop.

The project, spearheaded by the MGU Vice Chancellor Sabu Thomas, involves depositing these fungicide capsules in pits made near the tapioca plants at different stages of growth. In the preliminary phase, the research focuses on the process of developing a new farming system that will make tapioca more profitable and minimize soil and water pollution due to fertilisers and pesticides.

“The fungicides are released in a sustainable manner from the biopolymers that are environmentally friendly. Measures are also taken to improve the performance of these formulations, which have lower toxicity than conventional fungicides’‘, explained Thomas.

This new generation agro-preparation, according to him, will be a promising solution to safe and sustainable agriculture.

The collaborative project worth ₹9.5 crore, which has entered its fourth year, is being funded under the Mega Grant of Russia .

Alexia Dudev and Nasezhda Strelsova, scientists from Siberia who have been part of the project said a similar method was being used in potato cultivation in Siberia. Researchers Blessy Joseph and Jeethu Kiran Prakash from the MG University are also part of the initiative.

Published on January 11, 2022

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