International Seminar on "Efficient Carriers for Microbial Bio-products"

An International Seminar on “Efficient Carriers for Microbial Bio-products” was held on September 7, 2022 at Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR), with an aim to create awareness of microbial bio-products and its role in sustainable crop production.

The seminar was organized virtual and physical by the Soil Microbial Bio-product Research Group, led by Dr. Qaiser Hussain, in collaboration with the Institute of Soil and Environmental Sciences and Pilot Project for Data-Driven Smart Decision Platform (DDSDP) of PMAS-AAUR.

PMA-AAUR Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Qamar-uz-Zaman was the chief guest while the event was attended by students, faculty members, researchers, policy makers, progressive farmers, seed and pesticides companies, and other stakeholders.

While addressing, Dr. Qamar-uz-Zaman highlighted the different strategies for sustainable crop production in order to ensure food security in Pakistan. He was of the view that microbial bio-products not only reduce the use of chemical fertilizers but also reduce cost of production. He also talked about social & technical aspects of microbial bio-products for sustainable crop, soil & water management and stressed the adoption of sustainable measures to cope with the adverse effects of climate change. He appreciated the efforts of organizers for arranging this seminar and hoped that this seminar provided a great opportunity not only to collect new ideas for research on microbial in agriculture but also be helpful to promote linkages and discuss future opportunities for joint research and knowledge exchange.

Dr. Lauran Hale, Research Soil Scientist, from United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), California gave a keynote speech on how we can improve the shelf-life of bio-fertilizers and their quality by selecting suitable carrier materials. She recommended the formulation of climate-smart bio-products using biochar as a carrier for microbial inoculants to sustain the highest viability and quality of bio-products to improve soil health and food security.

Dr. Rabia Khalid, a local speaker from Institute of Soil and Environmental Sciences, shared the results of soil probiotics, developed under the DDSDP project, which were tested on groundnut, maize, sugarcane, and chilies at various farmers’ fields including Multan, Attock, and Chakwal. She reported that the application of soil probiotics increased the yield of all tested crops and reduced the use of chemical fertilizer by up to 50%.

Dr. Muhammad Azeem moderated the seminar while earlier, Prof. Khalid Saifullah Khan, Director (ISES) welcomed all participants and talked about the harnessing power of soil microbes to improve crop production.

At the end, Dr. Muhammad Naveed Tahir, Project Director, DDSDP project thanked all the participants, chief guest, organizers, and invited speakers for their active participation.