Padma Bhushan Dr R.S. Paroda, former DG, ICAR & Secretary, DARE; and currently Chairman of the Trust for Advancement of Agricultural Sciences (TAAS), chaired the Valedictory Session of the Eighth International Training Course on ‘In Vitro and Cryopreservation Approaches for Conservation of Plant Genetic Resources’, held on Nov. 19, 2019 at ICAR-NBPGR, New Delhi. Guests of Honour of the session were Dr Bart Panis, Senior Researcher, Boiversity International, Leuven, Belgium and Dr A. Arunachalam, ADG (International Relation) ICAR & Principal Scientist in DG (ICAR) Office. Bioversity International-India was represented by Dr N.K. Krishna Kumar, Regional Coordinator, Central and South Asia, and Dr J.C. Rana, National Coordinator, UN-GEF project.
At the outset, Dr Kuldeep Singh, Director, ICAR-NBPGR and Course Director welcomed the dignitaries, trainees, staff of NBPGR and Bioversity International and thanked each of them for their contribution towards the successful conduct of the training. Dr Anuradha Agrawal, OIC, TCCU & Course Coordinator presented the report of the training. The training was attended by 22 trainees from 13 countries including Pacific Region (Fiji, PNG, Samoa), South and East Asia (Bangladesh, Chinese Taipei, India, Philippines), Central Asia (Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Ukraine) and Africa (Algeria, Madagascar, Senegal). The training was structured to cover all the aspects of in vitro conservation and cryopreservation of germplasm, through 21 lectures and 14 practical sessions. Lectures were delivered by resource persons from within NBPGR, from Bioversity International-India along with four International faculty, namely, Dr Bart Panis, Dr Hugh Pritchard (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK), Dr Takao Niino (Japan) and Dr Kanchit Thammasari (Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand). Trainees got a hands on experience of handling clonally propagated crops and difficult-to-conserve non-orthodox seeded species. Apart from the lectures and practicals, trainees also visited the National Genebank and the National Herbarium of Cultivated Plants (NHCP), at the ICAR-NBPGR, New Delhi. A short video film was also presented which captured the candid moments of the training duration.
The trainees introduced themselves for the benefit of the dignitaries and provided a feedback, expressing great satisfaction and benefit from the 15-day long training program. They appreciated all aspects of the arrangements including design of lecture and practical schedule, laboratory manual, trainers’ competence and responsiveness, boarding, lodging, travel and visits arranged. Thereafter trainees received their certificates of completion of training.
In his remarks, Dr N.K. Krishna Kumar complimented NBPGR for reviving this activity of training under the Centre of Excellence program of Bioversity International and ICAR, after a gap of five years. He appreciated greatly the efforts made by NBPGR and also the enthusiastic response of the trainees. Dr A. Arunachalam expressed his satisfaction at the outcome of the training, which had amply demonstrated ICAR’s strength in capacity building in the area of biotechnology for germplasm conservation. Dr Bart Panis also praised the event, saying he had observed marked improvement in the quality of training since the past, especially with respect to increase in practical hours, which the trainees had well-appreciated.
Dr Paroda praised the organizers for the enormous planning and execution of a world-class training, as evident from the report, video film and feedback from the trainees. He was glad to note the diverse nations from which the trainees had come and encouraged them to use this opportunity to forge long-term relationship with the trainers and each other. He said that PGR conservation and use would gain more importance, due to climate change. Hence, capacity building in this area, as in the present training was very important.
The valedictory session ended with a formal vote of thanks proposed by Dr Neelam Sharma, Course Convenor.
(Source: OIC TCCU (Tissue Culture and Cryopreservation Unit), ICAR-NBPGR, New Delhi)