What inspires plant scientists and why is their job so important? Dr Balwinder Kumar explains:
Why did you want to be a plant scientist?
I am an agronomist working on forage and pasture crops. My work is related to improving the productivity of crops. I am also working on seed production, biofortification, soil and animal relationships, nutrient management, weed management, sustainable agriculture and organic farming. My work is beneficial to farmers to improve their livelihoods.
Can you explain what your job involves?
My job involves research, teaching, and livestock science. Imparting vocational training related to agriculture, livestock and allied sciences to farmers, farm women and rural youth. I also encourage farmers to adopt modern technologies for sustainable agriculture.
What are the pests/crop enhancements that you are working on?
I am working on improving the yield and quality of crops such as maize, wheat and Egyptian clover through biofortification. I also work on the diversification of mono- cropping systems, sustainable agriculture, organic farming, weed management and yield enhancement.
Can you describe how these crop enhancements how this will benefit farmers/society?
Our work is very beneficial to the livestock owners and ranchers. In South Asia, seed availability of important fodder crop such as berseem is very low. Biofortifying fodder crops with micro nutrients such as zinc and iron through soil and foliar application will improve the yield and quality of fodders but also result in good quality milk enriched with nutrients which, in turn, can improve the nutrition of humans.
Why is your profession important in the challenge to feed the world?
My profession is important because sustainability and economic prosperity can be achieved with the adoption of scientific techniques in agriculture, livestock and allied sciences. With the efforts of agricultural scientists, we can achieve food and nutritional security in a sustainable way without damaging our natural resources so that we will be able to feed the world.
What inspires you about your job?
The smile on farmers faces inspires and motivates me to work harder and with more dedication.
Who is your Food Hero?
My food hero is Dr. Norman E. Borlaug.
Dr Balwinder Kumar has a phD in Agronomy from the Punjab Agricultural University. He has more than 9 years of experience in teaching and has contributed 50 publications to national and international journals.