Srinagar, March 25: Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) Mumbai and Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir (SKUAST-K) have signed a pact to bring in radiation technology in agriculture for the development of new crop varieties through mutation breeding, increase in the shelf life of fast perishable fruits and vegetables, and to develop new crop protection technologies for organic agriculture.
The two institutions signed the pact during a recent visit by the SKUAST-K team of scientists, head by the Vice Chancellor Prof Nazir Ahmad Ganai to BARC Mumbai.
Director, BARC, Dr AK Mohanty, during the interaction meeting with the SKUAST-K team, complimented the two institutions for the mutual agreement and assured his full support to Jammu & Kashmir in building the human capacity in the area of radiation technology and its application in the development of climate-smart high yielding varieties, especially crops like saffron, Kala Zeera, the wild tulip of Kashmir and other bulbous crops which show the least variability.
Dr AK Mohanty directed the scientists of BARC for developing protocols on the use of radiation technology for increasing the shelf life of commercially important fruits and vegetable crops and also for delaying the sprouting in onion, shallot and potato to help the UT of J&K in the export of its farm produce with better market prices. Director BARC also opined that J&K Govt. should establish a facility for irradiation of fruits and vegetables for increasing shelf life at a commercial scale to help farmers and traders.
Prof Ganai while interacting with the Director BARC and his scientists emphasized the constitution of the working groups of scientists in different areas of R&D between BARC & SKUAST-K and also desired for joint National Workshop on the role of radiation technology in agriculture to be held in July 2022.
Both the institutions desired to form working groups of scientists to address the different areas of application of radiation technology in agriculture. The heads of two institutions shall periodically monitor the progress of research activities.
Director Research, SKUAST-K, Prof Sarfaraz A Wani gave a detailed presentation before the BARC scientists about SKUAST-K’s achievements in R&D and the proposed areas of collaboration. Director Bioscience Group, BARC, Dr Tapan K Ghanty assured full support and cooperation of the scientists and the availability of the research facilities to the students and Faculty of SKUAST-K. The other scientists from SKUAST-K who were part of the team were Associate Director Research, Rice Research Station Khudwani Dr Najeeb-ur-Rehman and Associate Professor DARS Budgam Dr Aijaz A Dar.
The scientists from BARC who participated during the deliberations were Dr TR Ganapathi, Head, Nuclear Agri and Biotech. Dr S Gautam, Head Food Technology Division, Dr Mukherjee, Dr Sudhir Singh, Dr Archana Joshi and Dr Jyoti Tripathi.