Udaipur; March, 2022.

International Zinc Association (IZA), along with Hindustan Zinc Limited (HZL) and Maharana Pratap University of Agriculture & Technology, had entered into an MoU to create awareness among farmers about the balanced use of Zinc in agriculture. The first session of the training program was organized at the Maharana Pratap University with 30 farmers of Madar village. A large number of women farmers – as a first, attended the session. Farmers, especially women were keen to understand and leverage the benefits of zinc in crop production. The session highlighted the significance of micronutrients i.eZn in agriculture. The session was attended by Dr. S. K. Sharma, Director Research, MPUAT; Dr. Soumitra Das, Director, South Asia-ZNI, International Zinc Association; Dr. Rehka Vyas, Zonal Director Research, MPUAT Udaipur; Dr. Arvind Verma, Associate Director Research, MPUAT Udaipur, Dr Devendra Jain, Asst Professor and Dr Gajanand Jat, Asst Professor & Principal Investigator of the Project. The speakers explained the importance of zinc in the food chain and also highlighted the role of zinc in human health.

On this occasion, Dr. S. K. Sharma, Director Research, MPUAT said, “Zinc plays an important role in plant physiology as well as in human nutrition and zinc deficiency has been recorded in 36.5 per cent soils at the national level and over 50 per cent in the Rajasthan state. Zinc is a micronutrient is not only beneficial for human health, but its amplification also increases the life and quality of a crop. Through these conferences, we would like to educate the farmers and work with them closely to provide India with better quality and healthy food.   To ensure this, Mobile Apps would help to educate farmers and enhance awareness. We would also introduce the award for Best Zinc Man Fellow and Zinc Women Fellow to the farmers who actively educate other farmers on the role and application of zinc in crops, animal and human health.”

A first-of-its-kind pilot project has been organized by MPUAT Udaipur to study the effect of zinc application on crop productivity, soil health and popularizing Zinc fertilization. The university had agreed to engage and mentor around 100 farmers to incorporate zinc to increase productivity, starting with wheat and then maize in the next cropping season.  As part of the MoU, Maharana Pratap University undertook the discussion around “Promotion of Zinc in Crops for Ensuring Food and Nutrition Security” with the first group of farmers.

Adding to this, Dr. Soumitra Das, Director, South Asia – ZNI, International Zinc Association, New Delhi, said, “About 40per cent of the soils of the nation are affected by the deficiency of zinc, adversely impacting the yield and quality of crops as well as human health. Around 50 per cent of the soils globally are deficient in zinc, as a result, over 2 billion population around the world is affected by zinc deficiency which leads to an increase in common diseases like diarrhoea, pneumonia which is prominently seen in young children around Asian and African countries. During the global pandemic, zinc has emerged as an essential element to boost immunity to fight deadly viral infections like Covid-19. Through these conferences, we would like to work closely with the farmers to create more and more awareness on the importance of Zinc in crops and nutrition.”