Pushpavathi is encouraging tobacco growers to shift to sericulture
B. Pushpavathi, member of the Mysore Zilla Panchayat from Dharmapura, has won the Young Scientist Award at the fourth International Conference on Medicinal Plants and Herbal Products held on the Montgomery County campus of Johns Hopkins University in Rockville, U.S.
A Ph.D. in Botany, Dr. Pushpavathi presented a chapter from her research thesis at the conference. Having done a study on micro-propagated mulberry plants for her doctoral degree, she is now aiming to step up a campaign for encouraging tobacco growers in her constituency to shift to sericulture.
Hunsur is one of the highest tobacco growing areas in the State.
India is a signatory to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and it is under obligation to reduce tobacco cultivation by 2020. India is among the 150 countries that are signatories to the FCTC, sponsored by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
In India, Karnataka is the second-largest producer of tobacco after Andhra Pradesh.
Tobacco growers in Karnataka are being advised to shift to alternative commercial crops so that the area under tobacco cultivation, which is over two lakh acres, is reduced by at least one lakh acre by 2020.
“As I have done research on mulberry plants, I am trying to persuade people in my segment to shift to sericulture from tobacco,” Dr. Pushpavathi told The Hindu.
She plans to launch a tissue culture laboratory at Hunsur to produce new varieties of mulberry plants.
To a query, the zilla panchayat member said she interacts with the students and others in her constituency on the need for looking for better farming alternatives.
Dr. Pushpavathi, who is married to a businessman, uses bio-manure for mulberry plants that she has raised in her farm as part of her studies.
Zilla panchayat members congratulated Dr. Pushpavathi after she returned from the U.S.