Proceedings of National Consultation on Weed Utilization
20-21 October 2009, Jabalpur
Weeds not only adversely affect the plant productivity but many of them also cause health hazards in human-beings and animals. They also affect seriously the biodiversity. Apart from this, they may have numeral beneficial properties in one way or the other and have immense potential as food and fodder, medicinal, aromatic, phyto-remediation, industrial, soil and water conservation resources etc. A very little information is available on the use of these plants for such useful purposes. To explore this and to further trap the information on this aspect, a “National Consultation on Weed Utilization” was convened at Directorate of Weed Science Research, Jabalpur during 20-21 October 2009. The purpose of this National Consultation was to provide a platform to all weed scientists engaged in different aspects of research on weed utilization at various institutes and universities.
Efforts are being made to invite some eminent scientists to deliver lead papers for in-depth discussion
The theme of the Consultation was “Utilization of weed plants for useful purposes" .Under the main theme, there were following sub-themes on which deliberations were made:
- Utilization of Weed Plants for Soil and Water Conservation
- Utilization of Weed Plants for Alternative Livelihood Opportunities
- Utilization of Weed Plants for Industrial Uses
- Utilization of Weed Plants for Strengthening Research
The programme was ceremonially opened at Directorate of Weed Science Research, Jabalpur on 20 October 2009. Dr A K Singh, Deputy Director General (NRM), ICAR, New Delhi was the chief guest who inaugurated the National Consultation. Dr Jay G Varshney, Director, DWSR welcomed the chief guest and delegates from almost all the states of India. Dr Varsheny apprised of the huge losses caused by weeds alone, if not managed properly and emphasized the need to utilize abundantly available weed biomass for some useful purposes.
Dr A K Singh, informed the gathering about many household and medicinal use of plants available abundantly in and around the society, called weeds. He cited many such examples which are used as food and fodder for human and livestock consumption and are being used for daily needs by the rural people in one or the other way. D. Singh congratulated D. Varsheny for organizing this National Consultation to explore the possibilities of using weeds for some beneficial purposes. He hoped that the two days deliberations will bring out some useful recommendations. At the occasion, Dr Singh also released many extension folders published from DWSR.
Dr Sushilkumar, Organizing Secretary of the National Consultation proposed the vote of thanks.
- There were four technical sessions covering various themes, besides the Plenary Session.
- About 50 delegates from all over India attended this National Consultation
- A total of about 16 invited and 20 contributory presentations were made.
Plenary Session: The two-day National Consultation after successful deliberations concluded with the Plenary Session on 21 st October, 2009 which was chaired by Dr Gautam Kallu, Vice- Chancellor, JNKVV, Jabalpur, and co-chaired by Dr Jay G Varsheny, Director, DWSR, Jabalpur. The Chairman invited to make presentations of the recommendations from Chairmen/ Co-chairmen/ Rapporteurs of various sessions. The Rapporteures of presented the detailed report of the sessions and gave their recommendations. Comments from participants were also invited. After detailed discussions following recommendations emerged:
Recommendations of National Consultation on Weed Utilization
- The importance of weed has yet not been realized by policy-planners. It is well documented fact that about 37% loss in crop productivity occurrs due to weeds only, besides loss to human and animal health, plant biodiversity and environment. Proper utilization of weeds itself can contribute significantly to enhance the income of poor farmers, besides giving benefit of control in various ecosystems.
- There is great scope of many weeds for pytoremidation. More weeds are required to be identified for absorbing different type of pollutants from water so that treated water could be used in irrigation. Research need is to isolate the concentrated metals from the weeds and use them for different purposes.
- A list of weeds should be prepared having soil and water conservation properties, to be recommended in required ecosystems.
- Making compost and vermin-compost from weeds has great potential which can be utilized by resource poor farmers at very low cost. Efforts should be made to popularize the compost preparing techniques among the farmers. This will also save our national drainage of money for purchasing inorganic fertilizers.
- Many weeds can be utilized for essential oil, gum and dye production. Efforts should be made for commercial utilization of these weeds.
- There is scope of using weeds for various value added products, composite, furniture and hand-made paper etc.
- Many woody weeds may be converted into compacted fuel in the form of briquettes. There is need to popularize these technologies among the resource poor farmers/families to generate additional income.
- Supplement of additional nutrient-rich food for human and fodder for animals rich with carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals could be obtained by using many weed plants. There is need to investigate such weeds for nutrients status.
- The biogas and biodiesel production will save our national drainage of money for this purpose and lowering the environment particularly air pollution.
- There is scope of producing biopesticides after characterization of suitable chemicals in weeds which may be used in pest management
- Many home using materials like mats, chatai /hogla pati, sweeping materials, garlands, thatching materials can be prepared.
- Many weeds are good indicator of global climate changes. These shoild be identified and utilised fro the purpose.
- Herbicide-tolerant GM crop, besides drought and cold-resistant crop may offer simplified and efficient control of weeds, particularly in wheat, rice, maize cotton and pulses. Therefore, efforts should be made towards identification, evaluation and development of herbicide, drought and cold-tolerant genes for viable public-private partnership in Indian conditions.
- There is vast scope of microbes in weed management but so far little work has been done. Intensive research is required in this direction.
- Commercial cultivation of useful weeds should be done only after assessing the merits and demerits by different agencies concerned.
- There is co-ordination gap between industries and research institutions. Therefore, linkage between industries with NRCWS and SAUs for managing the weed problems should be strengthened.
(Source : Directorate of Weed Science Research)