The fifth lecture of the Distinguished Invited Lecture series was organized by the School of Comparative Indic Studies and Tribal Sciences, KISS-DU, in collaboration with the Internal Quality Assurance Cell, on the topic, “Bio-fertilizer Technologies for Agri-entrepreneurship in Tribal Pockets of Odisha for Income Generation” on 4th April 2022. The lecture was delivered by Professor S. P. Adhikary, D.Sc., FNAAS, Fmr. Vice-Chancellor, Fakir Mohan University, Balasore

Delivering the lecture, Professor Adhikary stated that the Green Revolution brought with it the dilemma of pitting fertilizers against insecticides, resulting in the alkalization of soil and loss of biodiversity. Selective re-introduction of microorganisms thus became important. This led to the development of biofertilizers. Explaining the difference between green manure and biofertilizers, he said, biofertilizers are live or latent microorganisms that replicate themselves. It is possible to introduce efficient strains of decomposing, phosphate solubilizing or nitrogen-fixing microorganisms that increase their own number, providing nutrients that are easily assimilated by plants. He described different microorganisms suitable for specific purposes and to be used with specific crops.

However, biofertilizers, without appropriate quality control, not only failed to work, but also resulted in nutrient depletion in different regions, Professor Adhikary cautioned. Describing his work in the field, he said, he had collected samples of biofertilizers from several tribal pockets and isolated the best-performing region-specific algal strains. He performed lab-to-land research, which enabled the mixing of latent algal strains together, while avoiding interspecific competition, thus ensuring that an optimal mixture of microorganisms would reach the field.

This tailor-made biofertilizer can be used by unemployed youths and NGOs for income generation at a very low investment, he pointed out. Laying down a framework for sustainable agri-entrepreneurship that would result in increased prosperity and productivity for the indigenous population of Odisha, he provided a comprehensive outline of specific requirements and recurring expenses down to the very last detail. Stringent quality control can ensure the development of region-specific, or even location-specific biofertilizers to ensure tailor-made delivery of biofertilizers which will work best in the situation intended, resulting in up to 25% higher yield.

Professor S. P. Adhikary has had an illustrious academic and administrative career spanning several countries across five decades. He has made significant research achievements in the field of Biotechnology, Agriculture, and Botany.

KISS-DU would take all steps necessary to equip young indigenous entrepreneurs with adequate training and resources to start-up biofertilizer production and packing plants, said Professor Deepak Kumar Behera, Vice-Chancellor, KIIT-DU. Dr. Rashmi Mohapatra, Dean, School of Comparative Indic Studies and Tribal Sciences, KISS-DU; Dr. Prashant Kumar Routray, CEO & Registrar; and Dr. Priyoneel Basu, Associate Professor, School of Comparative Indic Studies and Tribal Sciences also spoke on the occasion.