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Volume 10, Number 3

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editorial
Academia and research needs support
to generate knowledge
international linkage
Pakistanis citrus industry
food security
Farmland investment in developing countries
environment
Indiscriminate use of pesticides
pests and diseases
Mango die back
horticulture
Litchi cultivation
organics
Microbial strategies to induce drough tolerance
epilogue
From principles to future knowledge
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FARMING Outlook FARMING Outlook
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July - September, 2011
Title page picture courtesy IPNI
'Knowledge is power' said Francis Bacon (1561-1626) and today's
progress in all walks of life, including agriculture, owes it to
knowledge. Plato's 'academy' (387 BC) and Aristotle's 'lyceum' (335
BC) were the forerunners of today's seats of learning and research.
Agricultural research which generates knowledge to improve
agricultural technologies is unfortunately in a poor light in Pakistan,
despite availability of qualified and competent technical expertise.
What has gone wrong? Neither concomitant funds are coming forth,
nor are there conducive environs provided by those at the helm of
affairs.
As to farmers' woes include the current berserk and wayward prices
of urea, rising to as high as Rs. 1,800/- or even more today! - A more
than 100 per cent increase from a price of Rs. 850/- less than two years
ago.
Pakistan having been endowed a versatile climate, productive soils
and hard working tillers of lands, there is no reason why consumer
should suffer: even the essential daily use commodities such as
tomatoes getting a rare commodity as Eid-ul-Azha approaches and
already selling at as high a price as more than Rs. 100 per kg - beyond
a common consumer's reach.
Farmers need innovative technologies to keep commodities supply
chain uninterrupted besides timely availability of inputs at affordable
prices. We request earnestly both the public and private sectors to
help
- generate knowledge and innovative technologies,
- train farmers to a equip themselves with modern agricultural
knowledge, and
- provide a network of inputs at farmers' doorsteps at affordable
prices
Pakistan's progress hinges on agriculture, and, therefore, the sooner
our elites in higher echelons move to accord agriculture a high priority
it deserves, the better for both the producers and consumers.
Academia and research needs support
to generate knowledge
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M. Tahir Saleem
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Improvements in
Pakistan's Citrus Industry
through the Australian Sector Linkages Program
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Holly Reid
FARMING OUTLOOK September Issue 2011
In the previous edition of Farming
Outlook Magazine, the Australian Centre
for International Agricultural Research
(ACIAR) outlined its engagement with
the Pakistan mango sector as part of the
Agricultural Sector Linkages Program
(ASLP). Established in 2005, the ASLP
is part of Australia's development
assistance program, and is focused on
the major employers of rural labour in
Pakistan: the mango, citrus and dairy
industries. In this article, ACIAR's work
in the citrus industry as the ASLP evolves
into Phase Two is outlined.
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The Australian Centre for International
Agricultural Research (ACIAR) was
established by the Australian
Government in 1982 to fund and manage
projects across a broad range of
agricultural research and development
areas.
As part of the Australian development
assistance program, ACIAR uses world-
leading expertise in agricultural research
to deliver food security and enhance
rural household incomes in the Asia-
Pacific.
ACIAR provides training and
development activities, as well as
fellowships and support for training
courses, to help build capacity in
research application and implementation
in partner countries.
ACIAR in Pakistan
Pakistan has been a partner country of
ACIAR since 1984, with projects
spanning Punjab, Sindh and Khyber
Pukhtonkhaw (KPK) provinces.
Similarities in water resource and
salinity issues between Australia and
Pakistan mean that agricultural scientists
from the two countries are well-placed
to help each other, combat these
challenges and bolster agricultural
productivity.
ACIAR's program in Pakistan focuses
on irrigation, drainage and salinity
management in the major cropping
systems, as well as enhancing Pakistan's
key industries; citrus, mango and dairy.
For the past three decades, Australian
horticultural expertise has assisted the
adoption of a whole-of-system approach
by Pakistani smallholders, to increase
the productivity and competitiveness of
their produce.
Phase 1 of the ASLP
The Agricultural Sector Linkages
Program (ASLP) was established in 2005
as part of Australia's development
FARMING OUTLOOK September Issue 2011
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FARMING OUTLOOK September Issue 2011
assistance program, following high level
discussions between the Australian and
Pakistani Governments.
The purpose of the ASLP is to build
linkages between the agricultural sectors
in Australia and Pakistan through four
components: market linkages, academic
linkages, agriculture and linkages
program review.
Under an agreement with AusAID, the
Australian Government's aid portfolio,
ACIAR agreed to manage and
implement the operational aspects of
Phase One of the ASLP: agriculture and
linkages program review. These were
conducted from 2005 to 2010.
Through four research projects across
the three key industries, Phase One of
the ASLP successfully transferred
Australian knowledge and expertise in
key sectors of Pakistan agribusiness.
Phase 2 of the ASLP
Phase Two of the ASLP commenced in
September 2010. Given the success of
ACIAR's involvement in Phase One of
the ASLP, the organisation has
recommitted its involvement in the
second and final phase of the program.
Capitalising on the outputs of Phase
One, Phase Two is providing Pakistan's
agricultural sector with additional
resources to enhance the social
dimensions of the industries and - by
extension - agricultural capability and
policy development.
This requires a focus on:
- The causes and circumstances of
poverty and marginalisation,
- The particular constraints that
gender, age and social position may
impose,
- ACIAR project and industry
collaboration and communication
modalities.
Through a collaborative approach to the
design and implementation of Phase
Two, ACIAR is laying strong
foundations for future partnerships
between the Australian and Pakistani
agricultural sectors.
Citrus in Pakistan
Despite undergoing considerable
diversification over the years, Pakistan's
agriculture industry has remained the
largest sector of the country's economy,
employing 42 per cent of the total labour
force.
Nearly 68 per cent of the country's
population living in rural areas is
dependent on agriculture for their
livelihood. In the horticultural sector,
citrus ranks as the most important
commercial crop, followed by mangoes,
bananas and apples.
Of total citrus production, approximately
10 per cent is exported, 2 per cent
processed, and the remainder sold in
the domestic market. However, 20 to 40
per cent of gross production is
unsellable, representing very high
postharvest loss.
There are many factors which contribute
to the high percentage of unsellable
citrus. These include poor orchard and
nursery practices, unreliable supply of
certified seeds, inefficient production,
and poor irrigation and pest and disease
management.
Through the adoption of improved
horticultural management techniques,
the crop yield, fruit quality and potential
income for Pakistani smallholders in the
primary production districts could be
greatly increased.
ASLP activities relating to Citrus
In Phase One of the ASLP, ACIAR
project, Increasing citrus production in
Pakistan and Australia through
improved orchard management
techniques, achieved considerable
success. The project:
- Improved nursery production
practices and introduced germplasm
to extend the marketing season,
- Demonstrated 'Best Practice' orchard
management, focusing on crops and
irrigation,
- Enhanced the research, extension
and production capacity of
Pakistan's citrus institutions.
Given the success of the now concluded
project, ACIAR's continued involvement
in Phase Two of the ASLP was a logical
progression toward improving food
security in Pakistan.
The enhancement of citrus value chains
production in Pakistan and Australia
through improved orchard management
practices, ACIAR project
HORT/2010/002, was launched in April
2011.
The project is focusing on the
improvement of mandarin and orange
productivity value-chains by widening
the varieties, enhancing the supply of
elite, disease-free planting material and
improving orchard management.
The project also has a strong social
aspect, working strategically to improve
the livelihoods of Pakistan's rural poor
by undertaking capacity building of
extension staff training in Australia.
The main partners in this project are
Industry and Investment Australia, the
National Agricultural Research Council
in Islamabad, the University of
Agriculture in Faisalabad, the Citrus
Research Institute in Sargodha, and
Agricultural Research Institute in
Tarnah, Kyber Pakhtunkhwa and the
Government of Punjab.
ACIAR's
Research Program
Manager for
Horticulture, Dr
Les Baxter, said he
was confident that
this project would
see real benefits
for Pakistani
smallholders.
"Phase Two of the
ASLP has a much stronger emphasis on
extending the research and capacity
development from Phase One to the
rural poor whose livelihoods are
dependent on the citrus industry", he
said.
"ACIAR is pleased to have been able to
be a part of the ASLP, the benefits of
which we will continue to see for many
years into the future, particularly as
developments in knowledge are shared
amongst smallholders".
The Australian mandarin industry
should also stand to gain improvements
through the knowledge obtained
through this project.FO
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FARMING OUTLOOK September Issue 2011
For more detailed information on the aims and expected outcomes of this project, visit aciar.gov.au.
Holly Reid is Communications Officer at the Australian Centre for International Agricultural
Research (ACIAR), Australia
Food Security
Farmland Investment
in Developing Countries
An Issue or an Opportunity - Win-Win Scenario
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FARMING OUTLOOK September Issue 2011
Food security exists when all people at all times
have physical, social and economic access to
sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their
dietary needs and food preferences for an active
and healthy life.Currently more than 80 percent
of the world's population lives in countries
that use more resources than can be sustainably
produced within their own country boundaries,
over 35 countries depend on food aid policies
and today 900 million people experience hunger.
Shabbir A. Shahid
Salt-tolerant plants in severely degraded salt scalds (UAE)
By 2050, the world's population is
expected to rise to 9 billion and food
demand would rise even higher, by 70
percent, as more prosperous economies
demanded more calories. Developing
countries are the most vulnerable to
hiked population, where most of the
farmers are resource-poor smallholders
facing challenges to meet increasing food
demand for their families.
The current scenario
As currently over 35 countries are
currently on food aid policies and some
900 million people experience hunger
today, the future food security is under
intense stress from projected-climate
change impact, ecological degradation,
population growth, rising energy prices,
rising demand for meat and dairy
products and competition for land from
biofuels, industry, and urbanisation and
even the "green revolution" of the 1960s,
had already begun to flatten since the
early 1990s.
The Gulf States
Amongst many economically
prosperous nations, eg Gulf States (GS)
-a water-scarce region - are food insecure
nations with arable land less than 0.2 ha
(1961-1970) per capita which has
declined to 0.12 ha per capita (1991-2003)
due to climatic constraints and resource
degradation. It is projected that the GS
will be impacted greatly by climate
change. In addition the land demand
has risen to mitigate climate change
through plantation for carbon
sequestration, enhancing environmental
services and combating desertification.
Given these existing and predicted
challenges in GS there is a net deficit
between the ecoresources generated and
consumed and this difference may
worsen over the coming years and
therefore, it is realistic to state that it
would be hard for GS to achieve food
security using available soil and water
resources within their boundaries.
Owing to this deficit, the GS currently
import more than 90 per cent food for
consumption and is perhaps the world's
largest importer of food; they are also
the net importers of cereals. With this
food import they are also importing
virtual water (a measure of the total
water used in production of a good or
service, eg., one kilogram of wheat
requires about 1,000 liters of water, and
one kg of edible beef 15,000 liters). The
concept was initially used to illustrate
the advantages to water scarce nations
for trade with other nations, rather than
attempting to produce all goods locally.
Some views it as a motivation to capture
water resources in poor developing
countries.
Achieving food security through
land-lease in developing
countries
There are many ways by which
economically prosperous but food
insecure nations can achieve food
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FARMING OUTLOOK September Issue 2011
Resource degradation Climatic constraints-UAE
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FARMING OUTLOOK September Issue 2011
security, like intensification in local food
production using high-tech (rationale
use of soil resources, modern irrigation
systems, protected agriculture, water
conservation, sector wide water reforms,
use of alternate water sources);
continuing food import; outsourcing
food production to countries which have
comparative advantage for agricultural
expansion; leasing land abroad for
farmlands; and through creation of GS-
FOOD RESERVE to be used in case of
emergency.
To achieve food security, perhaps GS
will be in the forefront of new
investments in farmland abroad.
However, the purchase, lease or
acquisition of land in the poor
developing countries by foreign
investors for sources of alternative
energy and food crops have led to the
so called "land grab". Acquisition of
farmlands in such resource poor
countries may provoke food insecurity.
It is sensible to lease land where there
are resources surpluses (abundant soil
and water resources) concentrated in
ecological creditors countries, which
currently do not utilize their full
biocapacity, production cost is lower,
however, this is not the present scenario
and there have been land deals in poor
developing countries (Joachim and Ruth-
IFPRI, 2009) eg for biofuels (Congo,
Ethiopia, Mozambique, Tanzania,
Zambia), rice (Angola, Cambodia,
Cameron, Indonesia, Mali, Mozambique,
Tanzania,), wheat (Egypt, Sudan), maize
(Madagascar) and general agriculture
projects (Africa, Malawi, Nigeria,
Pakistan, Turkey, Ukraine, Vietnam) etc.
Perhaps such deals are global re-
alignment of political economic relations
through diverse trajectories and
neoliberalisation.
FAO and IFAD on land grabbing
In the views of the activists, researchers,
and environmentalists private land
investments only increase monoculture-
based, export-oriented agriculture,
arguably jeopardizing international food
security, and shifting domestic to foreign
control over crucial food-producing
lands, however, such a land grab has
been seen as opportunity "unwarranted
optimism" for both the investors and
host countries.
The FAO, Director General has
expressed his concern about the potential
consequences of swift land grabbing on
political stability, and said, he supports
the proposed Gulf food deals as a means
of economic development for poor
countries. Further, if the deals are
constructed properly, he said, they have
the potential to transform developing
economies by providing jobs both in
agriculture and other supporting
industries like transportation and
warehousing (Coker, 2008).
Similarly the International Fund for
Agricultural Development (IFAD)
President expressed hope for possible
development opportunities through land
purchases. "When such deals take into
account interests of both parties they
help increase agricultural production in
developing countries, provide jobs, boost
export and bring in new technologies to
improve farm efficiency there"
(Kovalyova, 2009).
Despite calls from several organizations
including UN and International Food
Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) for an
international code of conduct for land
acquisition, most of the land deals to
date lack transparency and offer little
or no concession to small farmers.
Water grabbing
The area which still has not come under
strict scrutiny is "Water grabbing" which
is associated with cultivation of land
acquired by foreign investors. The land
deals raises serious concerns on the
water issues, like is there enough water
available to meet crop demand or a
reallocation required from other uses
(local communities, feeding aquatic
ecosystems) and the impacts on the
environment and other social groups. It
seems the impact will be significant on
developing countries in terms of food
security, losing control over prime
agricultural land and water resources
and depletion of water resources.
Significant conflict (non-reversible) is
likely to appear when water is fully
utilized and the host countries are
deprived of precious resources.
A Win-Win scenario
In author's personal opinion, there are
strengths, weaknesses, opportunities
and threats (SWOT) in leasing lands
abroad.
Acquiring marginal saline waste lands
A possible win-win scenario is for
foreign investors to acquire marginal
"saline waste" lands which are currently
unproductive and set aside and cannot
be brought into production due to poor
economic resources of the host countries.
Currently more than 1 billion ha of salt-
affected lands is existing globally. The
investors can then bring these marginal
lands into production through using an
integrated soil reclamation approach
including biosaline agriculture (using
salt-tolerant crops).
The prime agricultural lands to be left
for the host country
There should always be a condition that
the prime agricultural lands are left for
the host country, so that this practice
does not upset the local market, farmers'
rights and food policies.
Sharing benefits equally
It is imperative that arrangements
should be properly negotiated and deals
are transparent, local farmers should
receive training in high-tech agricultural
production, practices must be
sustainable, create jobs opportunities to
local manpower, domestic supplies
become priority during emergencies
(war, acute drought and famine) and
benefits should be shared by the
investors and the host countries. It is
only then that investment abroad can
be seen as a positive scenario and both
the investors and the host country can
be in a win-win situation.FO
References
Coker, M. (September 10, 2008). UN Chief
warns on buying farms. The Wall Street
Journal.
Joachim von Braun and Ruth Meinzen-Dick,
IFPRI. 2009. Land grabbing by foreign
investors in developing countries: Risks and
Opportunities. IFPRI Policy Brief 13, April
2009, pp. 5.
Kovalyova, S. (April 19, 2009). UN agencies
see "win win" farmland deals. Reuters.
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FARMING OUTLOOK September Issue 2011
Dr. Shabbir A. Shahid is Salinity Management Scientist, International Center for Biosaline
Agriculture (ICBA), Dubai UAE
Resource assessment for crop production (UAE)
Indiscriminate use of Pesticides
and their Impact on Natural Enemies
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Imran Rauf & Nazir Ahmad
FARMING OUTLOOK September Issue 2011
"Pesticides are double edged sword, if used intelligently will kill the
enemy - and if carelessly will kill you and your friends".
The use of pesticides has increased manifold in recent
years. A variety of pesticide chemicals are available
in the market for the control of insect pests, attacking
vegetable and other crops in Pakistan. This
indiscriminate use of pesticides has destroyed the bio-
control agents in the agro-ecosystems and the
populations of natural enemies of the insect-pests have
declined up to 90 percent during the last decade.
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FARMING OUTLOOK September Issue 2011
Insects and other species that damage
crops or that transmit diseases to people
or animals, and are therefore pests, need
to be controlled. For many hundreds of
years, farmers have been managing crop
pests in a variety of ways that were
harmless to the environment. But as the
human population soared in the 20th
century, and food production started on
much larger scale, new approaches of
pest control were found. New synthetic
pesticides promised a quick and easy
way to manage pests and the
agrochemical industry got established.
Chemicals also became mainstream in
other areas of life, such as in public
health to fight mosquitoes and other
disease-carrying insects (vectors), in
building constructions to control
termites, and in industry as lubricants,
paints and adhesives.
How chemical pesticides affect
the ecosystem?
Chemical pesticides work against nature,
disrupting ecosystems. Besides killing
the target pest they also kill other species,
some of which may be useful, such as
natural enemies of the pest or
pollinators. Ecosystems are naturally
balanced. Dynamic systems that have
evolved over time and the rapid
destruction of several species can
unbalance the entire system. Previously
insignificant pests may rise in
prominence within the destabilized
system, creating new sources of crop
losses. In addition, pests can become
resistant to chemicals so that larger doses
of pesticides are needed for the same
effect, thereby increasing ecosystem
damage. A vicious cycle develops with
increasing production costs, declining
yields and rising levels of damage to the
environment and human health.
The widespread use of
agrochemicals
In many parts of the world, increased
production has been achieved through
increased cropping frequency, high
yielding crop varieties and increased
use of agrochemicals, including
fertilizers and pesticides. Often these
changes are interrelated; high yielding
crops may be more susceptible to pests,
particularly if inorganic fertilizers are
used and, partly as a result of this,
pesticide use has increased rapidly over
the last 40 to 50 years. The use of
pesticides is often encouraged by
government policies, which subsidize
pesticides to make them more readily
available to farmers. Generally, it has
become a widely held view that
pesticides are the best and fastest means
to reduce pest damage, and farmers have
become dependent on them to assure
the yields they now expect.
Pesticides use, their effects and
development in Pakistan
As with many other new technologies,
the long-term consequences went largely
unconsidered in view of the short-term
benefits. The impacts of chemical
pesticides were initially positive and
people benefited enormously. But over
time, it became clear that some of these
pesticides had serious negative impacts
on human health and the environment.
Pesticides development in Pakistan
Pesticide use began in Pakistan in the
1950s for locust control. In 1954, the
government imported formulated
pesticides amounting to 254 tons. This
was the beginning of the pesticide
business in the country. Until 1980, the
Plant Protection Department was
responsible for pesticide imports and
their distribution in the country through
the national agricultural extension
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FARMING OUTLOOK September Issue 2011
network. Most of the pesticide imports
were used for aerial spraying to control
locust, pests of sugarcane, cotton, rice,
tobacco and fruit crops. The cost of
pesticides was subsidized and aerial
spraying was free of charge.
Pesticides were privatized in 1980 and
since then there has been a steady
increase in pesticides import and
consumption. As a result, consumption
of pesticides in Pakistan has increased
from 665 tons in 1980 to 14,773 tons in
1990 and 27,995 tons in 2009 -10 worth
about 8741 million rupees.
The problem
Unfortunately, the widespread use of
pesticides has resulted in complicating
pests' problems. Excessive and
inappropriate pesticide use has
disturbed the agro-ecosystem and killed
non-target and environment-friendly
organisms, including birds. Besides this,
the excessive inappropriate use has
induced pest resistance and resurgence.
Studies show that the population of
natural enemies in cotton growing areas
has declined enormously during the last
decade. It is therefore high time that the
use of pesticides be rationalized and
alternative approaches promoted.
Adult feeding aphid
Green Lace Wing Chrysoperla carnea
(Insecta: Neuroptera: Chrysopidae)
Larva
Lady bird beetle Coccinella septempunctata
(Insecta: Coleoptera: Coccinellidae)
Dragon fly Sympetrum flaveolum
(Insecta: Odonata: Libellulidae)
Types of natural enemies
Predators
These are organisms that prey and feed
on other organisms. They often feed on
various stages of the host (pest): eggs,
larvae, pupae and adult. Each predator
kills and feed on a number of prey
individuals during their development
(larvae to adult). Most adults are also
predators.
For example: ladybird beetles,
dragonflies, predatory mites, predatory
bugs, predatory wasps and spiders.
Parasitoids
Organisms that during the larval stages
feed on (external parasitoids) or in the
pest (internal parasitoids). They
complete their development on a single
host, killing it. In their adult stages they
are mostly free-living (with few
exceptions) and feed on pollen and
nectar or other sugary substances such
as honeydew. The most common
parasitoids are parasitic wasps and flies.
Pathogens
Organisms that can cause diseases of
pests. They include fungi, bacteria,
viruses and nematodes. They can be
important in controlling pest
populations in agricultural systems.
However, naturally occurring pathogens
often are too rare to serve as important
control agents.
Pesticide impact on natural
enemies
Toxicity to natural enemies
In general, natural enemies are more
sensitive to pesticides than pests. There
are several reasons for this, including
the following:
Natural enemies may take up more
pesticide. Many natural enemies,
particularly parasitoids, are smaller
than their host or prey. Smaller
organisms take up comparatively
more pesticide than larger ones in
proportion to their body volume,
because the body surface: volume
ratio is greater in small animals.
Natural enemies may pick up
pesticides at a faster rate than pests.
While many pests spend their lives
feeding on or in plants without
moving around very much while
many natural enemies spend much
of their lives walking over the
surfaces of plants, and therefore pick
up more chemical.
Natural enemies cannot detoxify
poisons very well. Pests are
generally better adapted for
detoxifying pesticides, because they
already possess the enzymes
necessary for breaking down natural
poisons that are found in some of
the plants they eat. Carnivorous
insects, including insect natural
enemies, do not have the same levels
of these enzymes.
The resurgence problem
The most serious pesticide effects on
natural enemies occur when pest
numbers increase dramatically, rather
than fall after spraying. This
phenomenon is known as resurgence.
The main cause is the destruction of the
pests' natural enemies by the pesticides,
which allows the host populations to
increase unchecked.
Resurgence is most common when:
The pesticide is not very effective
against the targeted pests , because:
- The pest may be resistant to the
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FARMING OUTLOOK September Issue 2011
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FARMING OUTLOOK September Issue 2011
pesticide.
- The application method may be
such that the pesticide does not
reach the areas of the plant
where the target pests live.
- The pest may be protected from
the pesticide if it lives inside
plant tissues, e.g. stem borers
and leafminers.
The chemical is very toxic to natural
enemies.
Development of resistance
The problems of resurgence can be
exacerbated by the development of
pesticide resistance in the pest. When
resistance develops, the pesticide
becomes less effective, and often farmers
are tempted to spray more frequently
or at higher doses. In these situations,
natural enemies can be virtually non-
existent, and as a result, massive pest
outbreaks can occur.
An indirect effect: catastrophic
synchronization
One of the most striking indirect effects
of pesticides is catastrophic
synchronization. This can occur when
pesticides are used to eliminate one
particular stage of the pest's life cycle in
a pest population where the generations
overlap. If this stage is particularly
susceptible, the spray regime may
succeed in completely wiping it out.
The problem lies with natural enemies
(usually parasitoids) which have a
shorter generation time than the pests
they attack. Suddenly the host stage
which they parasitize is no longer
available because the whole population
has passed on to the next stage all at the
same time. As a result, the natural enemy
population crashes, or may go extinct
locally, because it cannot find any hosts
at the right stage to reproduce in.
Sublethal effects
Up until now, we have been thinking
about pesticides' side-effects in terms of
mortality. However, in the past 10 or 15
years, researchers have proved that
pesticides may have subtle, sublethal
effects on natural enemies that are not
killed outright. These may include:
Reducing the reproduction rate of
parasitoids or predators.
Reducing the attractiveness of pest-
infested plants to natural enemies.
Very subtle effects on the searching
behaviour and, therefore, the
effectiveness of natural enemies.
Conclusion
Although pesticides are intended to
harm only the target pest, if not used
correctly, they can also harm the natural
enemies of the pest and the environment.
Being potentially dangerous and
harmful to natural enemies, little
attention was paid to the long-term
impact of chemical pesticides on our
environment. In the West, farmers
switched over to Integrated Pest
Management (IPM) and not only this
but as a rule they have made it
compulsory that atleast 50 per cent agro-
chemicals should be phytopesticides,
where as in Pakistan the farmers want
to use only synthetic, highly toxic
pesticides.
It is, therefore, high time that the use of
pesticides be rationalized and alternative
approaches like biological control,
behavioral control, bio-pesticides etc.
should be promoted.FO
Imran Rauf* and Nazir Ahmad are from Nuclear Institute of Agriculture, Tandojam,
Hyderabad. *Corresponding Author: juniper_786@hotmail.com
Mango Die Back
and its Management
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FARMING OUTLOOK September Issue 2011
Pakistan is a fifth largest mango producer and
third biggest exporter in the world. A number of
biotic and abiotic factors limit mango production.
These factors include insect pests, diseases, weeds,
inter cropping, water shortage, low soil fertility,
increasing levels of soil salinity, lack of interest
by the growers, lack of knowledge of post harvest
losses and in adequate storage facilities. Mango
die back is a complex diseases which has been
discussed in this paper.
Mango, Mangifera indica L. is an important fruit crop of
the tropical and sub tropical climates and has the South
Asian origin. It exists in number of varieties categorized
as early, mid and late with different fruit characters and
taste. It makes mango unique in consumption and consumer
appeal hence named as the king of fruits.
However, mango is a sensitive crop and is attacked by a
number of diseases at different stages of its development.
(but) However, the diseases which attack mango at flowering
stage cause significant losses. Recently a newly emerged
problem commonly known as mango decline/mango
sudden death has devastated the mango production
throughout the mango growing areas of the world including
Pakistan. The main forms of the disease include slow decline,
quick decline, wilting and sudden death of a normal mango
plant in a short period of time.
Symptoms
The infected plant shows a number of symptoms including
gummosis, bark splitting, wilting, fruit splitting, die back
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FARMING OUTLOOK September Issue 2011
etc. The initial symptoms generally
appear below the soil surface in the form
of blackening of the root zone, canker
formation while on trunks gummosis
and the oozing of the blackish or brown
liquid. In case of slow decline there is a
gradual decline in plant and the top
branches start drying downwards and
in quick decline there are certain changes
in foliage color with massive leaf drop.
Wilting and dropping of leaves are
considered as the most prominent
symptom. Mango sudden death is
considered as the most devastating form
of mango decline which results in the
death of a healthy plant in a very limited
period of time.
Causal organisms and physical
factors
The cause of this disease remained a
mystery for a considerable period of
time. The research revealed that a
number of factors singly or in
combination are responsible for causing
the disease. The most important biotic
factors include the mutual relationship
of bark beetle and a fungus Ceratocystis
fimberata. The beetle makes tunnels in
the bark which provides the point of
entry for the fungus. Other species such
as Lasiodiplodia theobromae, Alternaria sp,
Fusarium sp, Cladosporium sp,
Colletotrichum sp have also been found
associated with disease. The genus
Ceratocystis represents a number of
fungal plant pathogens especially on
forest plantations and this fungus is
attaining the status of primary pathogen
of mango. A number of biotic factors
other than Ceratocystis are also being
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FARMING OUTLOOK September Issue 2011
considered responsible for enhancing
mango decline which include nematodes
and phytoplasma.
This combination of biotic factors along
with abiotic stresses including water
stress, nutritional imbalances,
intercropping and lack of orchard
management have been reported to
increase this disease. All existing mango
varieties are susceptible to this problem
but the attack of this disease is more on
local/desi mango, sindhri, chaunsa,
samar bahisht etc. This disease is present
in almost all mango growing areas of
Pakistan but its intensity varies from
orchard to orchard depending upon the
management practices.
Fertilizer management
Fertilizers are easy source of nourishing
plants, especially after the harvest of
fruits. Fertilizer application should be
made with great care depending upon
age of plant and soil fertility test.
Balanced and timely application of
fertilizers helps plants to improve their
health and vigour and enables them to
withstand stresses.
Fertilizer requirements of bearing and
non-bearing plants may vary slightly:
- To a non-bearing plant, an
application of 150-250 gm or 0.15-
0.25 kg each of nitrogen and potash
per plant (0.3-0.5 kg each of urea
and SOP) and 100 gm or 0.1 kg of
phosphate (0.2 kg DAP/TSP) is
made.
- A bearing mango tree generally
requires about 0.5-1.5 kg nitrogen
(1.0-3.0 kg urea), 0.5 kg phosphate
(1.0 kg DAP/TSP) and 0.5-1.0 kg
potash (1.0-2.0 kg SOP).
Timing of fertilizer application is very
crucial in fertilizer management.
Fertilizer should be preferably applied
after harvesting the fruit or at the start
of reproductive phase of plants. Fertilizer
should be applied along with irrigation
water so that nutrient elements are
dissolved in water and quickly absorbed
by the plants. Zinc deficiency has also
been reported in mango orchards. Zinc
deficiency can be corrected by foliar
application of 2.25 kg zinc sulphate and
1.12 kg lime in 450 litres of water in
spring and autumn. Spray of 0.75 per
cent zinc sulphate or 0.20 per cent zinc
oxide can also serve the purpose.
Fertilizers available in market may vary
in their composition as is evident from
Table 1, hence, their dose can be adjusted
accordingly.
The application of gypsum @ 10kg/plant
can be very useful. The application of
well rotten farm yard manure @ 30 kg
to 80-120 kg per plant in November-
December is considered very effective
for plant and soil health. A well-
nourished plant will not easily
allow disease development. It has
been experienced that control
measures are more successful if
applied at initial stages of disease
development.
Management of mango die
back
As mango decline is a complex
problem involving biotic and
Table 1: Composition of chemical fertilizers
(Percent)
Fertilizers N P2O5 K2O
Urea 46 0 0
DAP 18 46 0
MAP(Zorawar) 12 52 0
SSP 0 18 0
TSP 0 46 0
SOP 0 0 50
abiotic factors, there is a need to apply
integrated approach. The following
integrated disease management practices
can be applied.
Use stones of Desi (khatta) mango
for propagation of seedlings
Use only disease free propagating
material i.e. healthy seeds, seedlings
and plants.
Avoid inter cropping, mix cropping,
cover cropping and/or multiple
cropping in or in the surrounding
of mango orchards so that the
similar possible pathogens of both
the sown crop and mango may not
be multiplied and spread in
orchards.
Avoid plowing in the infected
orchards especially near the infected
trees
Irrigation must be applied as per
requirement with proper irrigation
method. Flooding of mango
orchards must be avoided
considerably.
Avoid high doses of nitrogen
fertilizers. Apply proper and
balanced fertilizers on the basis of
soil type, age and need of the tree.
A well nourished plant will not
easily allow disease development.
Proper sanitation of orchards and
timely pruning of trees (eradication
of disease causing organisms
through removing and burning of
diseased plants or plant parts) helps
to reduce the infection and growth,
development and further spread of
the disease causing fungus. It is
desired that diseased/dead twigs
and branches shall be removed once
the symptoms of disease start
appearing in order to avoid spread
of disease inoculums over the whole
plant or adjacent healthy plants. If
possible, pruning shall preferably
be done after harvest of fruit. It will
provide the plants enough time to
heal its wounds/cuts made during
pruning and plants will become able
to recover till the start of
reproductive phase, thereby,
productivity will be least affected.
Easily available broad spectrum
fungicides like Thiophenate
methyles@50g/tree, Fostyle
aluminium + Tebuconazole, 10+40g
or 0.010.04 kg)/tree should used.
Use fungicides by injection method
in bark and perform drenching for
soil and root treatment , e.g., Nativo
(Trifloxystrobin) @ 10g or 0.01
kg/tree, Alliette (Fosetyl
Aluminium) @ 40g or 0.04 kg/tree,
Topsin-M (Thiophenate methyle) @
50g or 0.05 kg/tree and Score
(Difenoconazol) @ 10ml or 0.01
litre/tree. Make a hole (4cm
diameter with 10-15 cm depth) in
the main trunk with hand or
motorized drill. Make 2-3 holes per
trunk and apply fungicide with
100ml syringe (remove needle).
Insert pieces of sponge after
fungicide application and close the
hole with plaster of Paris.
Suitable insecticides like bifenthrine
@ 2ml/1litre of water and Beta
cyfultrin @ 3.3ml/1 litre of water
should be used to manage bark
beetle.
Special care must be taken when the
plants starts showing gummosis. It
has been experienced that control
measures are more successful if
applied at initial stages of disease
development.FO
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FARMING OUTLOOK September Issue 2011
Amir Raza, Muhammad Ismail, Mohammad Afzal and Shamadad Khanzada from the
Nuclear Institute of Agriculture, Tando Jam
Litchi Cultivation
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M. Abbas Aziz
Litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn.), the queen of fruits, native to China is
grown in many parts of the world, incuding Pakistan. However,
China, India, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam are the major litchi
growing countries. World production of litchi is around 2.1 million
tonnes, with more than 95 per cent of the world cultivation in Asia.
Litchi is relatively new to Pakistans horticulture sector. In Pakistan Litchi is grown
on relatively small areas in Sheikhupura, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Rahim Yar Khan,
Multan and Haripur districts. The major production problems are irregular flowering
and poor fruit retention, while alternate bearing and small fruit size results in lower
yields and also reduce growers income.
FARMING OUTLOOK September Issue 2011
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FARMING OUTLOOK September Issue 2011
Nutritional value
Litchi is very delicious and nutritious
fruit and is an excellent source of vitamin
C, providing 119 per cent of daily
recommended value of vitamin C per
100 g. It also contains a fair amount of
phosphorus, calcium, potassium, iron,
vitamins A and B (Table-1). However,
the food value of litchi lies in its sugar
content that ranges from 7 to 21 percent,
depending on climate and variety.
Consumed in moderate amounts, the
litchi fruit improves gastrointestinal
health, relieves coughing and improves
skin tone.
Climatic & Soil requirement
Litchi can be grown successfully on a
wide range of soil types, which including
sandy loams, alluvial sand, and
calcareous soil, but they thrives best in
alluvial sandy loam soils with good
drainage and absence of
salinity/sodicity. Generally it will grow
anywhere citrus grows, however, its
young plants are extremely sensitive to
cold, and require protection.
Varieties
There are many varieties of this fruit
and seven of them are grown in Pakistan:
Bombay, Bedana (seedless), Calcutti,
Chinese, Madrasi, Gola and Litchi Siah
(black litchi).
Propagation
Usual method of propagation is pot
layering and air-layering (locally called
or goti) during the monsoon season.
Trees raised from seeds require 7 to 12
years to yield fruit and their quality of
fruit inferior. Moreover, litchi seeds are
short-lived, if removed from the fruit
and dried. Further, Bedana (seedless)
variety of litchi does not produce viable
seeds; hence litchi plant is perpetuated
through vegetative methods.
Orchard establishment
Plantings generally range from 100 to
300 trees per hectare (20 to 50 trees per
acre). If square system of planting is not
followed then recommended spacing
are 12 m x 6 m for spreading cultivars
and 6 m x 6 m for upright or low vigor
cultivars. The trees should be planted
in pre-dug pits (3ft x 3ft) filled with
topsoil mixed with manure and fertilizer
at the rate of 30 kg well decomposed
farmyard manure, 400 g diammonium
phosphate and 250-350 g sulfate of
potash. Litchi trees can be transplanted
any time of the year, but the best time
is spring or monsoon (August -
September).
Orchard management
Litchi is a slow growing tree and takes
three to five years to come into
production and develops full canopy in
about 15-16 years. During the initial
period of establishment, the space
between the plants can be utilized for
planting of filler plants/intercrops.
Vegetable and leguminous crops can be
grown as intercrops during the early
Table 1. Nutritional value of litchi
190 g of fresh fruit
Energy 125 kcal
Water 155.34 g
Protein 1.58 g
Fat 0.84 g
Carbohydrates 31.41 g
Sugars 28.94 g
Calcium 10 mg
Phosphorus 59 mg
Potassium 325 mg
Sodium 2 mg
Iron 0.59 mg
Copper 0.281 mg
Zinc 0.13 mg
Vitamin C 135.9 mg
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FARMING OUTLOOK September Issue 2011
years of orchard establishment. In the
mature Litchi orchards, cultivation of
partial shade loving plants (such as
ginger, turmeric) can be practiced
successfully, which provides additional
income to the farmer. As with other fruit
trees, only shallow tillage (5 - 7 cm deep)
should be carried out for weed control.
Pruning is usually required to remove
the dead or diseased branches and
damaged shoots. Since litchi flowers are
borne mostly on current year's growth,
the customary manner of gathering the
fruit is by breaking with it branches 10
to 12 inches long; it provides in itself a
form of forced pruning.
Fertilizers & irrigation
management
Application of fertilizers should be
started about one year after
transplanting. In fruit bearing orchards,
timings of fertilizer application have
little effect on yield and trees can take a
very long time to respond to applied
fertilizers. Fertilizer should be
broadcasted evenly and mixed through
shallow hoeing, about 0.2 m away from
the trunk under the canopy. The
recommended fertilizer doses are given
in Table-2.
Chemical fertilizers should be applied
to non-bearing trees in two to three splits
from March to September. In fruit-
bearing trees, full dose of organic
manure should be applied in December.
Diammonium phosphate, full dose of
sulfate of potash and half of the urea are
applied in February (before flowering
the starts). Remaining quantity of urea
should be applied in August after fruit
harvest.
Application of zinc sulfate (21%) @ 350
and and borax @ 50 gram per tree in
September can mitigate zinc and boron
deficiency. Foliar application of zinc
sulfate (0.1%) 10-15 days before
flowering can help reduce fruit drop.
Irrigation is normally applied according
to the crop needs but care must be taken
with water quality. Litchi trees are very
sensitive to damage from salts in the soil
or in water and irrigation with saline
water (EC > 1.0 dS m-1) may reduce
productivity. Moreover, litchi trees
cannot withstand longer period of
flooding; light irrigation should only be
applied to wet the root zone.
Harvesting and marketing
Flowering starts from mid-February
through March. The fruit of most Litchi
varieties is ready for harvest in 98 to 106
days after the bloom. In Pakistan Litchi
is harvested at different times in different
parts of the country due to agro-climatic
variation. In Punjab, fruit is harvested
from mid May to mid June while in
Haripur area litchi fruit picking begins
towards the end of month of June.
Yield varies with the cultivar, age,
weather, presence of pollinators, and
cultural practices. A 5-year-old tree may
produce 10 kg
of fresh fruit
and usually 80-
130 kg
fruit/tree can
be obtained
from 15 year
old trees. Litchi
Table 2. Fertilizer (kilograms) per tree per year according to age
Age (years) Urea DAP SOP FYM
1 - 3 0.30 - 1.00 0.10 - 0.30 0.05 - 0.15 10 - 20
4 - 6 1.00 - 2.00 0.35 - 0.65 0.20 - 0.30 25 - 40
7 - 10 2.00 - 3.00 0.75 - 1.00 0.30 - 0.50 40 - 50
> 10 years 3.50 1.50 0.75 60
fruit has a very short shelf-life of about
14 days and browned with in 3 days
without refrigeration, which lowers its
market value. The shelf-life can be
extended by using polyethylene bag,
paper wraps, etc. and by storing at 5 C
+ 1 for 15- 20 days.
Problems
Pests & diseases
Pests and diseases, which if not managed
can cause up to 50 percent of the crop
yield loss. The main insect pests are litchi
mite, shoot borer and fruit borer.
Vertebrate pests also cause damage to
litchi fruits.
Powdery mildew (Oidium spp.),
anthracnose or leaf spot (Botryodiplodia
theobormae, Colletotrichum gloeosporioides)
and red rust (Cephalexros mycoides) are
some diseases which cause some
damage to the litchi crop. Their control
measures consist of applications of
suitable fungicides.
Fruit cracking
Fruit cracking is one of the major limiting
factors in the cultivation of Litchi. The
early varieties are more prone to the
problem of fruit cracking in comparison
to late cultivars. The low atmospheric
humidity, high temperature and hot
winds during fruit development and
maturity stage may favor fruit cracking.
Light irrigation to maintain soil moisture
and to improve humidity has been found
to minimize this problem through
maintenance of a better micro-climate.
Water spray in litchi orchids is more
effective to reduce fruit cracking.
Conclusion
Concerted efforts on the part of the
research institutes, agriculture extension
department, and the growers can help
to increase the litchi growing area and
production in the country. The research
support for varietal and production
technology improvement is needed. The
main thrust of research must be on
introduction and evaluation of
germplasm from other countries like
China and India, varietal evaluation for
cultivation under local agro-climatic
conditions and other aspects of orchard
management like development of
research-based fertilizer
recommendations, pests and disease
control, post-harvest management of
fruit and finally the marketing.FO
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Dr. M. Abbas Aziz is Assistant Executive-Marketing (Agri. Services), Fauji Fertilizer
Company Limited, Farm Advisory Centre, Mandi Bahauddin
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FARMING OUTLOOK September Issue 2011
DR. IFTIKHAR AHMAD TAKES OVER AS CHAIRMAN PARC
We heartily congratulate Dr. Iftikhar Ahmad on his promotion to the
prestigeous as well as onerous position of Chairman, Pakistan
Agricultural Research Council.
He holds Ph.D in Plant Biology from University College of North Wales,
Bangor, UK. He has served at senior positions in PARC for about 27
years in the capacity of Chief Scientific Officer and Director General,
National Agriculture Research Centre (NARC). Besides, he has been
conferred various awards for his contribution in agricultural research, such as the Best
Scientist of the Year Award in 1999 by PARC and the Pakistan Academy of Sciences Gold
Medal 1999.
He, thus possesses a vast experience in handling large research establishments. With his
qualifications and experience he is expected to acquit himself creditably the daunting
responsibilities of the position he has been elevated to. We wish him success.
Microbial Strategies
to Induce Drought Tolerance in Crops
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M. Baqir Hussain,
Zahir A. Zahir and M. Arshad
FARMING OUTLOOK September Issue 2011
Microbes have potential to survive under water limited conditions
and when they live in association with the roots of plants, they may
also induce tolerance in plants against unfavorable conditions such
as drought and thus improve growth and productivity.
Drought is a major limitation to the productivity of crops particularly in arid and
semiarid areas. Due to global warming, world is facing changes in climatic factors
including rainfall, flooding, extreme temperatures and scarcity of water. Pakistan
is "high risk" country for calamities like drought/flood due to global warming
(CCVI, 2010) and according to the Faulkenmark Indicator falls in "high water stress"
category.
Vulnerability of plants to drought and the mitigating approaches
Drought may develop due to different reasons, including high salinity, low rainfall
and deep ground water.
All living bodies on the surface of earth have to live with these severe conditions,
25
FARMING OUTLOOK September Issue 2011
particularly drought. Plants are
primarily vulnerable to these calamities
including drought. For this reason,
certain management measures and
technological approaches have been
adopted world-wide to meet the
challenges of water shortage for
sustainable crop production.
Physical approaches, such as mulching,
deep tillage, bedding, cover cropping,
etc., have been developed and
recommended in arid areas of Pakistan
to conserve moisture and increase water
use efficiency, however, they are not
manageable resourcefully.
Chemical means to ameliorate the stress
include sprayed phytohormones
(abscisic acid, gibberellins and auxins),
inorganic (silicon and silver), and
organic (salicylic acid, jasmonic acid,
glycin betaine and benzyl alanine)
osmoregulators. These techniques
proved though good to ameliorate
partially the physical and biochemical
development of plants under drought,
yet they are not generaly economical.
Biological means such as inoculation
with beneficial microorganisms, are
resorted to inorder to induce drought
tolerance in plants. Soil microbiologists
are working on plant growth promoting
rhizobacteria (PGPR), having different
characteristics which may help crop
plants to sustain their growth and
productivity under water deficit
conditions.
Plant growth promoting
rhizobacteria
Different microorganisms living in the
rhizosphere enhance growth and
productivity of crops. Those beneficial
bacteria living in the vicinity of plants
forming association with the roots and
plant leaves, are known as rhizosphere
and phyllosphere bacteria, respectively,
whereas, certain bacteria get inside and
live in the tissues of plants and thus are
referred to as endophytes (Nadeem et
al., 2010). Many researchers have worked
to find out the exact mechanism to rescue
plant growth under drought but without
much success. Plant growth promoting
rhizobacteria may improve plant growth
through increased nutrient availability
(biofertilizer), phytohormone production
(biostimulator) and regulating ACC-
deaminase, osmo-regulators, osmo-
protectants and antioxidants production
(bioprotectant). Microbes having these
characters may induce drought tolerance
in crop plants.
Plant growth promoting activity
under drought
Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria
themselves suffer from drought/
desiccated conditions in the rhizosphere,
and, thus, have developed certain
mechanisms to tolerate the stress. These
microbial mechanisms may be harnessed
to induce drought tolerance in crop
plants.
Exopolysaccharide producing bacteria
construct biofilm on the roots and save
plant from water deficit and improve
growth by channelizing water and
nutrients inside the plant and improving
the physical structure of soil (Roberson
and Firestone, 1992). Under stress,
reactive oxygen species produced inside
the plant are denatured by antioxidants
which are induced by PGPR (Aroca and
Ruiz-Lozano, 2009). Similarly, auxin
producing bacteria (phytohormone)
improve growth of plants due to increase
in root length (Arshad et al., 2008). Some
PGPR have 1-aminocyclopropane 1-
carboxylic acid (ACC) deaminase which
can degrade ACC, the precursor of
26
FARMING OUTLOOK September Issue 2011
ethylene into usable nutrients for plants
and reduces stress induced ethylene
levels to improve plant growth (Zahir
et al., 2008). Trehalose, a disaccharide
produced by PGPR, has also been
reported as a good osmo-protector for
plants under drought conditions (Surez
et al., 2008). Abscisic acid
(phytohormone) increases in plants
under stress particularly drought,
leading to reduced cytokinin production
and stomata closure (Figueiredo et al.,
2008). But, certain PGPR have ability to
reduce the quantity of abscisic acid in
plants to rescue normal growth.
Similarly, salicylic acid and jasmonic
acid (osmo-protectants) have also been
reported to be produced by rhizobacteria
which help plants to cope-with drought
stress and increase water use efficiency
(Grover et al., 2011). Table 1 shows the
reported work of certain researchers for
PGPR induced drought tolerance in
cereals.
Experimental evidences and
reports
In Soil Microbiology and Biochemistry
Laboratory at the Institute of Soil and
Environmental Sciences, University of
Agriculture Faisalabad, PGPR isolates
capable to tolerate water deficit stress
were tested for plant growth promoting
activity on wheat under drought. A
significant increase in root/shoot length
(Figure I, II and III) and fresh biomass
of wheat seedlings was recorded. In the
mean time maize seedlings have also
experienced positive response to water
deficit situation by desiccation tolerant
PGPR inoculation. Similarly, ACC-
deaminase producing PGPR were tested
for plant growth promoting capability
on peas under drought. Nodulation and
dry biomass of peas increased
significantly. An increase in water use
efficiency was also significant in water
limited conditions. Prominent strains
were positive for phosphatase, chitinase,
siderophore, and exopolysaccharide and
auxin production. They were also good
root colonizers. These all mechanisms
may be responsible for improved growth
and water use efficiency of cereals under
drought by increasing root length and
lateral root numbers, improved root
colonization, increased auxin
biosynthesis, reduction in stress induced
ethylene levels and increased nutrient
availability via siderophore and
phosphatase activity.
Field trials
Field experiments have been conducted
in different locations of Punjab as well
to evaluate the impact of ACC-
deaminase producing PGPR for
Table I. Literature representing impact of PGPR inoculation in amelioration of
drought stress in different crops.
Crop PGPR Exp. Condition References
Chickpea Rhizobia Pot Esfahani et al., 2010
Chickpea Rhizobia Field Gan et al., 2010
Maize Pseudomonas sp. Pot Sandhya et al., 2010
Maize Pseudomonas&Azospirillum sp. Field Gholami et al., 2009
Mung bean Rhizobia Pot Surez et al., 2008
Mung bean Rhizobia Field Wolff et al., 1991
Wheat Azospirillum sp. Field Creus et al., 2004
Wheat & Cotton Pseudomonas sp. Field Shakir et al., 2009
improving water use efficiency of cereals (Figure IV, V, VI, and VII). Results of
27
Figure III.Impact of PGPR inoculation (S9) on shoot growth of wheat seedlings
compared to uninoculated control (C) at different drought levels (T0: No PEG,
T1: 20% PEG, T2: 25% PEG).
Figure II.Effect of drought tolerant bacteria on shoot length of wheat seedlings at
different drought levels.
FARMING OUTLOOK September Issue 2011
Figure I. Effect of drought tolerant bacteria on root length of wheat seedlings at
different drought levels
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FARMING OUTLOOK September Issue 2011
Figure IV. Field trial showing the difference of maize growth with ACC-deaminase
containing PGPR inoculation along with compost and the untreated control.
Figure V. Effect of ACC-deaminase containing bacteria on water use efficiency of pea
seedlings on dry weight basis (Reproduced from Zahir et al., 2008 with permission).
*Significantly different from respective control at 5% level of significance
**Significantly different from respective control at 1% level of significance
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FARMING OUTLOOK September Issue 2011
these trials have proved ACC-deaminase
biotechnology to be an efficient approach
for sustainable production of cereals
with reduced number of irrigations. The
project is funded by Punjab Agriculture
Research Board and is in progress for
further confirmation of results.
Conclusion
Results of the experiments emphasize
the potential of PGPR to induce drought
tolerance in crops and provide sufficient
evidence for researchers to further
explore the benefits of PGPR inoculation
on crop growth and productivity under
drought. Further, application of
biofertilizers to field crops can be very
cost-effective and efficient for sustainable
crop production and environmental
safety.
Future prospects
o PGPR should be evaluated for crop
improvement under different abiotic
stresses.
o Crop specific biofertilizers should
be developed.
o Effective formulations/carriers of
biofertilizers should be tested.
o Efficient method of biofertilizers
application should be designed.
o Public awareness programs
regarding benefits of the
biofertilizers should be organized
for the farmer.
o Endophytic bacteria should be
explored for plant growth
promoting activity in indigenous
environmental conditions.
References
Aroca, R. and Ruiz-Lozano, J.M. (2009).
Induction of plant tolerance to semi-arid
environments by beneficial soil microorganisms
- a review. In: Climate Change, Intercropping,
Pest Control And Beneficial Microorganisms.
Sustainable Agriculture Reviews 2: 121-
135.
Arshad, M., Shaharoona, B., Mahmood, T.
(2008). Inoculation with Pseudomonas spp.
containing ACC-deaminase partially
eliminates the effect of drought stress on
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FARMING OUTLOOK September Issue 2011
Muhammad Baqir Hussain is Ph.D. Scholar and Dr. Zahir Ahmad Zahir 2 and Dr. Muhammad
Arshad are Professors at Institute of Soil & Environmental Sciences, University of Agriculture,
Faisalabad, Pakistan
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FARMING OUTLOOK September Issue 2011
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FARMING OUTLOOK September Issue 2011