Thapar University to produce neem based bio-insecticide

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Patiala, Oct 3 (UNI) The bio processing unit of Thapar University would undertake commercial production of neem-based bio-insecticides.

A joint effort with Punjab State Council for Science and Technology (PSCST), the unit has an installed capacity of 50 kg per hour. The unit is the first of its kind in Punjab and will produce 4 tonnes insecticides in the first year.

A nursery at the university's Science and Technology Entrepreneurs Park (STEP) has also been established for developing neem (Azadirachta indica) seedlings that will be supplied to plantations. This backward integration will ensure sustained supply of neem fruits for bio-insecticide production.

The university director, Dr Abhijit Mukherjee, said, "We are confident that herbal bio-insecticides have tremendous market potential and will become a promising small scale business venture." "Bio-organic farming is of significant importance as bio-insecticides and bio-pesticides are herbal, non-toxic and environment friendly. Broad spectrum insecticides offer effective protection against pests. These environment-friendly products do not cause contamination of soil and ground water, and have wide applications," added Dr Mukherjee.

Discussing future plans, he said, "We aim to promote production, processing and use of herbal bio insecticide for environment-friendly and hazard-free farming in Punjab." Indiscriminate use of chemical insecticides and pesticides has a detrimental effect on the soil, ground water and final produce.

Besides bringing down production costs and eliminating pesticide residues, bio pesticides are also eco-friendly.

He revealed that in the first phase, i.e. July-August 2008, twenty two tonnes of neem seeds were procured. The first batch is ready and the university's faculty has organised several farmer meets and awareness camps in adjoining villages and on campus to popularise the use of bio-insecticides.

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