Thursday, October 21, 2010



The team of five Nuffield Scholars from Australia and Ireland, namely, Mr. Ian Duthie (Australia), Ms. Chris Ferguson (Australia), Mr. Don Madden (Australia), Mr. Steven Newman (Australia) and Mr. Bill O\' Keeffe (Ireland) who are on a visit to Punjab Agricultural University, held an elaborate discussion with the scientists of the University. Wide ranging topics concerning contemporary agriculture came into discussion. The Additional Director of Research, Dr. S.S.Gosal apprised the team about the research system of PAU and the priority areas identified keeping in view the constraints being faced in contemporary Punjab Agriculture. The Dean, College of Basic Sciences and Humanities, Dr. R.S.Sidhu discussed about the basic science education and research allied to agriculture. The Nuffield Scholars expressed their interest in knowing the pattern of subsidies available to Punjab farmers, horticulture in general and vegetable growing in particular. Dr. Yadvinder Singh, Head, Department of Soils highlighted that depleting underground water table and deteriorating soil health were the major fall outs of green revolution. He shared the new technologies developed by the University in addressing these concerns. He emphasized on the use of laser land leveler, tensiometer aided irrigation in paddy, leaf colour chart aided fertilizer application in paddy, integrated nutrient management in different crops, etc. as natural resource management strategies. Dr. Gosal said that biotechnology can help a great deal in supplementing conventional crop improvement using plant breeding techniques. He said that the protocols for mass multiplication of 17 plant species through tissue culture have been standardized and added that through this the elite material of vegetable and other crops can be propagated. Dr. B.S.Ghuman, Director, PHPTC told about the need for developing technologies for processing, postharvest handling and value addition in view of the colossal postharvest losses, especially in horticultural produce. Dr. M.S.Gill, Head, Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics shared about the new varieties developed by PAU and said that the crop improvement programme considers high yield, quality, tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses before release of varieties. The PAU recommended varieties are well received by farmers, he said.

Later the team visited School of Agricultural Biotechnology, Crop Museum of Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics and Punjab Horticultural Post Harvest Technology Centre and held interaction with the experts. Those who took part in the interaction included Director of Research, Dean, College of Basic Sciences, Director, PHPTC, Additional Director of Communication, Additional Director of Research (Agriculture), Heads of Departments of Soils, Plant Breeding and Genetics. Mr. M.S.Malhi, from Syngenta India Ltd was also present.
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