International Symposium on Balanced Fertilization for Sustaining Crop Productivity, Ludhiana, India
More than 400 delegates from Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, China, Germany, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Turkey, and USA participated in the International Symposium on Balanced Fertilization for Sustaining Crop Productivity held at the PAL Auditorium on the beautiful campus of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, Punjab, India on November 22-25, 2006. I was the sole delegate from Canada. After the invocation and lighting of lamp, the inaugural session on November 22 included: (1) Welcome by Dr. B.S. Dhillon, Director Research, PAU (2) Introductory remarks by Dr. Hillel Magen, Director, International Potash Institute and Dr. J.S. Maini, Additional Secretary, Government of India (3) Special address by Dr. J.S. Samra, Deputy Director General (DDG), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (4) Inaugural address by Dr. G.S. Kalkat, Chairman, Punjab State Farmers Commission (5) Presidential address by Dr. K.S. Aulakh, Vice Chancellor, PAU (6) Presentation of awards, and (7) Vote of thanks by Dr. G.S. Chahal, Dean, PAU.
About 30 oral papers were presented in eight technical sessions. More than 160 posters were presented in the following groups: Potassium in soils and fertilizers, modern balanced fertilization techniques, carbon sequestration in relation to balanced fertilization, role of potassium in pests and disease resistance and moisture stress in plants, quality improvements in bio-materials, nutrient management and recycling, alternate source of plant nutrition, and outreach activities involving balanced fertilization.
The pre-symposium professional tour for the delegates from abroad on November 21 included a visit to a village and a greenhouse nursery. There was ample time to discuss village life, crops, extension, farm machinery, and related topics. At the symposium banquet on November 23, the cultural program included energetic bhangra and graceful gidda dances. The delegates participating in the post-symposium tour visited the historic city of Amritsar.
The symposium provided an excellent opportunity to network and learn about the latest research and technological developments from the leaders in their fields. It brought together a broad spectrum of interests and gave us an opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones.
The joint IPI-PAU symposium was organized by of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), the Potash Research Institute of India (PRII), and the International Potash Institute (IPI). It was co-sponsored by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), the Fertiliser Association of India (FAI), the Bangladesh Fertilizer Association (BFA), and the National Fertilizer Secretariat (NFS). The event was widely covered by the state media, and appeared in about 20 Indian newspapers in several languages. The large number of participants from Pakistan complemented the significant presence of the regional researchers, officials, and industry representatives. The following Organizing Committee members and their dedicated team of volunteers are to be congratulated for an excellent symposium: Dr. M.S. Brar (Organizing Secretary), Dr. S.K. Bansal (Director, Potash Research Institute of India, Gurgaon, Haryana, India), Dr. Hillel Magen (Director, IPI, Horgen, Switzerland), Dr. Patricia Imas (IPI coordinator in the region, Beer Sheva, Israel), and Dr. Vladimir Nosov (IPI coordinator in the region, Moscow, Russia). I am grateful to the Organizing Committee for inviting me to present a plenary and a poster paper and to co-chair a session with Dr. Fasuo Zhang from Beijing, China. I would like to express my thanks to Mrs. Santosh Malhotra, Mr. Mukesh Kapoor, Mrs. Seema Kapoor, Mr. Vikas Malhotra, and Mr. Gurcharan Singh for their assistance.
My visit to India for participation in this symposium also gave me an opportunity to participate in the first-ever Alumni Meet at my alma mater Chandra Shekhar Azad University of Agriculture and Technology, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh on November 11 and the inaugural session of the International Conference on Post-Harvest Technology and Value Addition in Cereals, Pulses and Oilseeds on November 27 there. I am grateful to Dr. V. K. Suri, Vice Chancellor for his kind hospitality.