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The Department of Entomology, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), celebrated “National Lac Insect Day” on Thursday under ‘Network Project on Conservation of Lac Insect Genetic Resources,’ funded by ICAR-National Institute of Secondary Agriculture (Ranchi). A total of 169 undergraduate and postgraduate students participated in this programme which was organised with an objective to create awareness about socio-economic importance of lac cultivation.

Dr DK Sharma, Head, Department of Entomology, told that PAU has recorded natural infestation of lac insect on 15 host plants during surveys in Punjab, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh under this project. He emphasized the importance of conserving the economically useful lac insect for ecological development and livelihood generation for farmers.

“Lac is natural, renewable, non-toxic, bio-degradable and eco-friendly resin of insect origin, being secreted by a tiny beneficial insect commonly known as lac insect (Kerria lacca),” told Dr PS Shera, Principal Entomologist and Principal Investigator of this project. He also informed that lac is one of the most precious gifts of nature to mankind because of its innumerable utilization in surface coating, fruit coating adhesive, electrical, food, leather, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.

Dr KS Sangha, Principal Entomologist, highlighted that integrating lac cultivation with other non-host agricultural and horticultural crops through farmers’ participatory approach can not only diversify land use for increasing productivity and income of farmers but also help in preserving the biological diversity of lac insect, and its associated flora and fauna.

Dr KS Suri, Principal Entomologist, highlighted the importance of commercial lac cultivation and its applications.

Dr Sudhendu Sharma, Principal Entomologist coordinated the field visit to Regional Field Gene Bank for practical identification of lac insect life stages and host plants.

Dr Rabinder Kaur, Principal Entomologist, and Dr Shasta Kalra, a young professional, coordinated the exhibition on lac products at Dr Gurcharn Singh Kalkat Laboratories. Besides, a quiz competition was also organized for the students on this occasion.

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