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In a joint effort to enhance research capabilities in rice pathology screening, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) recently organized 26.03.2024 a comprehensive hands-on training program. Geared towards young researchers, the workshop delved into the intricate processes of screening rice diseases and insect pests, crucial for maintaining crop health and productivity in rice breeding.

Over two days, the training offered practical insights into identifying pathogens, their multiplication, conducting high throughput screenings, and managing various diseases affecting rice cultivation. Led by experts from PAU and IRRI, the sessions provided valuable guidance to the enthusiastic cohort of young researchers. The program commenced in the presence of Dr. Gurdev Singh Khush, the global authority on Rice Breeding and World Food Prize Laureate alongside PAU’s Vice-Chancellor Dr. Satbir Singh Gosal.

Emphasizing the imperative for ongoing collaboration between academia and international research institutions, Dr. S. S. Gosal cited it as pivotal for driving innovation and addressing the complex issues faced by the agricultural sector. He underscored the need for continuous learning and adaptation to keep pace with the evolving landscape of rice pathology and breeding techniques. Additionally, Dr. Gosal commended the participants for their dedication to advancing their knowledge and skills in rice research, recognizing their role in ensuring food security and sustainable agricultural practices. He encouraged them to apply the knowledge gained from the workshop in their research endeavours, contributing to the collective efforts aimed at enhancing rice productivity and resilience against diseases and pests.

Dr. A.S. Dhatt, Director of Research, PAU, underlined the critical role of rice in global food security and the substantial losses incurred due to diseases and pests. He also highlighted the invaluable contributions that plant pathologists and entomologists can make in combating these challenges. Dr. Sankalp Bhosale from IRRI expressed his delight for the novel initiative, drawing attention to its potential to foster collaboration and knowledge exchange among researchers.

In his vote of thanks, Dr. G.S. Mangat, Additional Director of Research, maintained that the collaboration between PAU and IRRI is dedicated to nurturing innovation and excellence in agricultural research, paving the way for sustainable rice farming practices and food security in the region. The training workshop was organized by Dr. Jagjeet Singh Lore.

Through interactive sessions, laboratory demonstrations, and field exercises, attendees gained firsthand experience in diagnosing, screening, and grading different rice diseases and pests. Additionally, they were acquainted with advanced techniques and tools for pathogen culturing and mass multiplication enabling them to contribute effectively to ongoing research endeavor’s.

The lectures and practical sessions were conducted by Dr. Jagjeet Singh Lore, Dr. Van Schepler Luu, Dr. Shamshad Alam, Dr. Pallavi Sinha, Dr. Jyoti Jain, Dr. P.S. Sarao, Dr. Mandeep Hunjan and Dr. Dharminder Bhatia.

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