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International Agronomy Congress, New Delhi, India

The Second International Agronomy Congress was held at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, India, November 26-30, 2002. The theme was Balancing food and environmental security – A continuing challenge. The Congress was organized by the Indian Society of Agronomy, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, and the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences. The sponsors were: The Indian Farmers Fertilizers Cooperative Ltd., Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company Ltd., Krishak Bharti Cooperative Ltd., International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas, Food and Agriculture Organization, Department of Science & Technology (Government of India), and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development. Congratulatory messages were received from Hon. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (President of India), Hon. Bhairon Singh Shekhawat (Vice-President of India), Hon. Atal Bihari Vajpayee (Prime Minister of India), Hon. Ajit Singh (Minister for Agriculture), Hon. Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa (Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers), Hon. Parmod Mahajan (Minister of Parliamentary Affairs & Communications and Information Technology), Hon. K.C. Pant (Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission), Hon. T.R. Baalu (Minister for Environment and Forests), Hon. Arjun Charan Sethi (Minister of Water Resources), Hon. Sompal (Member, Planning Commission), Hon. R. Chidambaram (Principal Scientific Adviser to the Govt. of India), Dr. M.S. Swaminathan (UNESCO Cousteau Chair in Ecotechnology), Dr. Adel El-Beltagy (Director General, International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas, Aleppo, Syria), and Dr. Stein W. Bie (Director General, International Service for National Agricultural Research (ISNAR, Hague, Netherlands).

Dr. M. S. Swaminathan was the Chief Guest at the gala inaugural session. Eminent scientists and administrators in agriculture delivered special plenary lectures on topics related to food production and policy and farming systems research. Papers were presented in several sessions including partnership and participatory research, post-harvest technology, crop modelling and precision farming, integrated input management, information technology and agricultural research and development, water resources management, food and nutritional security, diversification and globalization of agriculture, and research-education-extension linkages. The sessions were well attended. State-of-the-art audio-visual equipment was available for the presentations. More than 900 poster papers presented on November 27-30 gave an opportunity for greater interaction with the authors, international networking, and making lasting friendships. I was impressed by the exhibition Natural resource management in India – A saga of success and challenges ahead. It was inaugurated by Hon. Murli Manohar Joshi, Minister of Science and Technology. An excellent cultural program was organized on November 28 for the delegates and the accompanying persons.

The following post-congress tours were organized: Golden Triangle Tour (Delhi-Agra-Jaipur-Delhi), Gangetic Tour (Delhi-Varanasi-Khajuraho-Agra-Jaipur-Delhi), Royal Rajasthan Tour (Delhi-Agra-Jaipur-Udaipur-Delhi), Spiritual Himalayas Tour (Delhi-Haridwar/Rishikesh-Mussoorie-Delhi), and South Indian Splendour Tour (Delhi-Bangalore-Hassan/Hampi-Mysore-Bangalore-Bombay). In addition, several delegates took the opportunity of visiting Taj Mahal (one of the seven wonders of the modern world), Jaipur (Pink City), the Tiger Reserve (the Corbett National Park) in the Kumaon Hills for a unique experience of Elephant Safari, the Keola Deo Ghana Bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur and many other historic places. For some of the foreign delegates and their families, it was a dream vacation.

The inaugural session was a gala event.

International Agronomy Congress, New Delhi, India

Hosting an international event of this magnitude requires a team effort, a lot of hard work, and commitment from many people. The Board of Governors included Ronald P. Cantrell (Philippines), Bob Clements (Australia), William D. Dar (India), Adel El-Beltagy (Syria), Ian Johnson (USA), R.S. Paroda (Uzbekistan), Timothy Reeves (Mexico), Frank Rijsberman (Sri Lanka), Panjab Singh, Chair (India), R.B. Singh (Thailand), and M.S. Swaminathan (India). The International Organizing Committee included I.P.S. Ahlawat (India), Bo Bengtsson (Sweden), Eric T. Craswell (Germany), S.K. De Datta (USA), R.C. Gautam (India), Y.P. Kalra (Canada), R.S. Kanwar (USA), Rattan Lal (USA), P.K.R. Nair (USA), A.H. Roy (USA), M.C. Saxena (Syria), Bal Ram Singh (Norway), Panjab Singh (India), Virendra Pal Singh (Philippines), and Neil C. Turner (Australia). The National Organizing Committee had the following members: I.P.S. Ahlawat, R.P.S. Ahlawat, Masood Ali, S.K. Bansal, V.M. Bhan, P.C. Bhatia, M.V. Dhoble, A.S. Faroda, N.C.Gautam, R.C. Gautam, J.S. Kolar, Virendra Kumar, I.C. Mahapatra, D.D. Malavia, R.K. Malik, R.S. Narang, S.P. Palaniappan, H.K. Pande, Rajendra Prasad, V.N. Rai, M.R. Sharma, S.H. Shinde, A.K. Singh, B.P. Singh, C.M. Singh, D.P. Singh, G.B. Singh, K.N. Singh, Panjab Singh, R.P. Singh, R.P. Singh (…..and no, it is not a misprint; there were two scientists named R.P. Singh), Ramendra Singh, Y. Singh, V.C. Srivastava, D.S. Yadav, and R.L. Yadav. The Core Committee included I.P.S. Ahlawat, R.C. Gautam, M. Prasad, P.K. Rai, J.S. Samra (Chair), J.P. Saxena, A.R. Sharma, G.C. Shrotriya, A.K. Singh, G.B. Singh, R.P. Singh, J.S.P. Yadav, and R.L. Yadav.

I congratulate Dr. Panjab Singh, Director General (Indian Council of Agricultural Research) & President of the Indian Society of Agronomy and his cohesive teams on organizing an excellent congress. The Indian hospitality was superb.

Yash P. Kalra,
Canadian Forest Service