Smart fungicide capsules to improve tuber crop production minimize soil and water pollution
The lush green cassava leaves that grow abundantly on the Mahatma Gandhi University campus tell the story of a farming venture that has the potential to change the game for tapioca production throughout the tropical hills of Central Travancore.
In a remarkable step, the Mahatma Gandhi University in Kottayam has begun a combined research endeavor with Russia’s Siberian Federal University to produce smart fungicide capsules to improve tuber crop production.
The initiative, led by Mahatma Gandhi University Vice-Chancellor Sabu Thomas, entails putting these fungicide capsules in pits dug near tapioca plants at various phases of development. During the preliminary phase, the research focuses on the process of building a new farming system that will increase the profitability of tapioca and minimize soil and water pollution due to fertilizers and pesticides.
‘The fungicides are released in a sustainable way from ecologically friendly biopolymers. Measures are also being taken to boost the effectiveness of these formulations, which are less hazardous than conventional fungicides,’ Thomas noted. According to him, this new generation of agro-preparation will be a viable solution to safe and sustainable agriculture.
The ₹9.5 crore partnership project, which is now in its fourth year, is funded by Russia’s Mega Grant.
Scientists from Siberia, Alexia Dudev and Nasezhda Strelsova, who were involved in the experiment, stated a similar strategy was employed in potato production in Siberia. Blessy Joseph and Jeethu Kiran Prakash from MG University are also involved in the endeavor.