Webinar on “The Parthenium weed problem and its weed management at Global the level” was organized by ICAR-DWR, Jabalpur in collaboration of ISWS   (16 August, 2021)

To commensurate with the Govt. of India’s mission “Bharat ka Amrut Mahotsav” commemorating 75 years of India’s Independence, the Directorate of Weed Research, Jabalpur in collaboration with Indian Society of Weed Science (ISWS), Jabalpur organized an International Webinar on ‘The Parthenium weed problem and its weed management at Global the level’ on 16-08-2021.Professor Steve Adkins from the University of Queensland, Australia delivered a lead talk on the subject, covering possible reasons for becoming this weed so invasive, such as absence of natural enemies, genetic diversity and tolerance to biotic stresses, etc.; its biology and global distribution, losses to productivity of crops and biodiversity, invasion of grasslands and other ecosystems, human and animal health problems; and possible ways to manage this weed. Under changing climate scenario i.e. elevated CO2 conditions, the Parthenium being a C3/C4 photosynthetic pathway plant, grows vigorously and produced more number of seeds as compared to normal CO2 level, and therefore some weed management tools may become less effective. He gave major emphasis on biocontrol of Parthenium using Mexican beetle and other insects. However, he further explained that although biocontrol is very effective, it is not possible to eliminate Parthenium using only one strategy. Therefore, an integrated approach using weed suppressing plants and biocontrol strategy has been found quite effective in reducing the Parthenium weed seed bank in soil and further growth and development.

At the outset, Dr. S.K. Chaudhari, DDG (NRM) and Chief Guest of the programme, stated that the infestation of alien invasive weed Parthenium in India has increased with alarming rate in the recent past due to its tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses, all elopathic potential, lack of seed dormancy, etc.It is a poisonous, pernicious, problematic, allergic and aggressive weed posing a serious threat to human beings and livestock. Management of this weed requires collective and continuous efforts through awareness and adoption of integrated approaches. He appeal to all the Vice Chancellors of SAUs, Directors of ICAR institutes and In-charges of KVKs to participate in this activity and ensure 'Parthenium-free campus'. Dr. S. Bhasker, ADG (A,AF& CC), and the Guest of Honour in the Webinar said that Parthenium is a serious threat to biodiversity. Under ‘Swachha Bharat Abhiyan’ there is a need to eliminate this weed from the society. Creating awareness about its ill effects is very important aspect, he added. Dr. A.K. Pandey, Vice Chancellor, Vikram University, Ujjain, and the Chairman of the programme appreciated the efforts of the Directorate for making the awareness programme.

The Parthenium may cause more problem sto human health due to reduced immunity under the present scenario of COVID 19, and urged the people to eliminate this weed from the society. He also emphasized to utilize this weed for vermicomposting before flowering. In this webinar 478 participants from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh including scientists, students, and other stakeholders, were present in virtual mode. After the deliberation, there was a very fruitful discussion. Dr. Sushil kumar, President, ISWS and Convener of the programme, proposed the vote of thanks.

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