Many non-native weeds have become threat to cropland and non-cropland ecosystems in India. The potential threat from such weeds is evident in the form of yield losses, damage to plant biodiversity and effects on health and environment. In India both cropland and non-cropland ecosystems have suffered severe losses due to many invasive weeds such as Phalaris minor, Parthenium hysterophorus, Lantana camara, Chromolaena odorata, Mikania micrantha, Salvinia molesa, Eichhornia crassipes etc., In the past efforts have been made to address the problem but the outcomes were short of expectations. In this scenario it is imperative to continue efforts on priority basis to contain the invasive weeds as the risk is very high even at low levels of their infestation. To ascertain the weeds which directly or indirectly have impact on economy and ecosystem in India, a platform for thorough deliberations is needed to pave way for future plan of action. In this context a webinar on “Weeds of National Importance (WONI)” was organized on 25th February 2021 with the joint efforts of ICAR-DWR and ISWS.
This webinar was chaired by the Dr. J.S. Mishra, Director, ICAR-DWR, Jabalpur and convened by Dr. Anil Kumar, Principal Scientist and PI (AICRP), SKUAT, Srinagar. Dr. Sushil Kumar, Principal Scientist (DWR, Jabalpur) & President, ISWS, has delivered the talk on this important topic.
The speaker has presented the overall scenario of invasive weeds and their impact on crop production and ecosystem. He discussed in detail the attempts made so far by the Indian weed science fraternity to deal with those exotic weeds which have major share of impact on crop production, health and environment. He sincerely expressed his views that the achievements so far, with respect to the containment of designated weeds are not significant and he emphasized the need to take forward the efforts.
Post presentation, the topic was discussed in depth by the personnel of eminence in weed science. Dr. N.T. Yaduraju, Dr. Samunder Singh, Dr. B.S. Chouhan, Dr. Majumdar, Dr. T.V. Ramachandra Prasad, Dr. C.T. Abraham, Dr. Moolchand, Dr. Dekha, Dr. I.C. Barua, Dr. N.N. Angiras, Dr. Geetha Kulshreshta and many experts have expressed their views.
The following points with consensus have emerged from the discussion
1. Development of the criteria for designating a weed as one of national importance
2. Make use database already available
3. Profiling the database with GIS mapping.
4. Executing a separate project for’ WONI’ in the similar lines of AICRPWC.
5. Stakeholders need to be brought into.
6. Collaborative efforts involving DPPQS, NIPHM, National Biodiversity Authority etc.
7. What next after ascertaining weeds of national importance?
8. Take into consideration the policy aspects of the country.
A total of 205 members have actively participated in the webinar. Dr. V.S.G.R. Naidu, Principal Scientist & Head (KVK), ICAR-CTRI, Rajahmundry (A.P), has conducted this Webinar and proposed vote of thanks.