|Devant Maharaj and Vasant Bharath show off the result|
In a speech at the event, the food production minister noted that the technology would be a most welcome addition to the farming community since the issues of crop quality and yield are important to them.
"Bio-pesticides help to promote crop health and increase its salability. In organic production systems, bio-pesticides represent some of the most significant crop protection tools that a farmer has to produce a quality crop," he said.
"There are also plant growth regulators which enable growers to improve crop quality and yield in a different way. Rather than mitigating pest damage to the crop, these regulators evoke physiological benefits such as increased commodity size or enhanced colour.
"As colour and commodity size are often key determinants in the price a farmer would receive, application of bio-pesticides have the ability to increase overall yield resulting in higher net farm income," the minister added.
Maharaj said several trials and studies internationally show that the yield increase comes from plant improvement as well as from improvements in agricultural practices, in particular the use of fertilizers, crop protection products, land preparation and irrigation.
He noted that plant breeding can also help crops to adapt to different climatic conditions with crops native to temperature climates being able to thrive in a tropical environment.
"Government has and will continue to put in place an enabling environment to encourage plant breeding in particular by facilitating access to plant genetic resources and by protecting intellectual property," the minister said.
However, he said developing new plant varieties is not enough unless farmers can access the high quality seed. "This is why it is necessary to establish sound seed systems allowing for improvement, maintenance and control of seed quality and, where necessary, facilitate trade and market development," he said.
"In the coming year, we will assess the progress made on the current challenges and to identify new areas in which crop science, technology and cooperation can influence and induce solutions to challenging issues.
"These challenges which I have highlighted – crop quality, yield, climate change and demand for affordable food, represent priority areas that have the potential to dramatically shape the future of humankind.
"They address fundamental issues that underlie basic human needs, including the availability of sufficient, consistent, and nutritious food, protection of the environment, and sustainability of natural resources," Maharaj said.