Tuesday, March 1, 2011



A four-day Indo-US workshop on 'Precision Agricultural Techniques and Technologies (PATT) 2011,' organized by Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) in collaboration with Colorado State University, Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) and India Science and Technology Partnership (INSTP), commenced here today.

Inaugurating the workshop, the chief guest, Ms. Holly Higgins, Minister Counselor, Agricultural Affairs, US Embassy, New Delhi, traced the history of cooperation between India and US. Lauding the efforts of PAU in organizing the workshop, she said that the university has contributed significantly to the agricultural sector. Stating that sustainability of agriculture is vital, Ms Higgins laid emphasis on the standardization of production system and public private partnership. As agriculture provides livelihood to ~70% population of India, there is a need to develop new information technology and farmer friendly policy. She said that bi-lateral cooperation in science and technology can prove beneficial mutually to the two countries. She observed that information technology benefit should reach out to farmers. She remarked that precision farming, crop technologies, space research systems, best technology information for natural resource management were the key areas.

The guests of honour Dr Newell Kitchen, Scientist, USDA-ARS, Columbia and President American Society of Agronomy, USA, and Dr Craig Beyrouty, Dean, College of Agricultural Sciences, Colorado State University, USA, highlighting the activities and achievements, stressed on the growth of science of agronomy and global food security. "The challenge to produce enough food will be greater over next 50 years in the human history" stated Dr Beyrouty. Emphasizing on the need for purpose driven research, he said that global food security will increase the production efficiency, biotic and abiotic stress tolerance, genetic potential of crops and reduce the yield gap. Defining the agronomy as the science of land management with focus on crop, soil and environmental science, Dr Kitchen impressed upon the scientists to grow the impact of agronomy science. He observed that growth of the science of agronomy should be by growing the profession. Dr. Kitchen highlighted the activities of the American Society of Agronomy and discussed the aspects of Certified Crop Advisory programme (CCA).

Dr Manjit Singh Kang, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, in his presidential remarks, shed light on the status of Indian agriculture. Referring to Punjab agriculture scenario, he remarked that with 1.53% of geographical area, Punjab produces 20 % of wheat and 12% of rice in India. About 7% fertilizer consumption and 60% herbicides are used in Punjab. Throwing light on the world status of Indian agriculture, Dr Kang said that India is the largest producer of milk, ginger, cashew nuts, turmeric, in the world. It is the second largest producer of wheat, sugar, groundnut, third of tobacco and fourth of cotton. Dr Kang emphasized on the need for precision farming in India to reduce environment pollution, address poverty alleviation and enhance quality of life and food security. "India needs innovative techniques to meet the projected requirement of 276 million tonnes of food grains by 2021and 450 million tonnes by 2050," said Dr Kang while stating that it is the biggest challenge for the country. He called for an evergreen revolution and added that as the precision farming proposes to prescribe tailor-made management practices, it can help trigger the evergreen revolution.

Dr Raj Khosla, President, International Society of Precision Agriculture –cum- Monfort Professor of Precision Agriculture, Colorado State University, USA, in his keynote presentation dwelt on precision agriculture and resource management for livelihood security in small scale agricultural systems. Describing India and China as the two most prominent emerging economies, he said that the two populous countries are at risk in agriculture scenario. Food security, being the major concern and challenge, rests on three pillars – availability, accessibility and utilization, added he. Defining the precision agriculture as applying the right input, at the right time, in the right amount, at the right place, and in the right manner, he added that it has witnessed unprecedented growth in the last decade. The first Indo-US bilateral workshop, being held at PAU, aims to explore and identify the opportunities and challenges on how precision agricultural advances in the US can be modified to be pertinent to all types of agricultural systems i.e., large scale farming in developed world to small scale farming in lesser developed world or emerging economies like India.

Dr S.S.Gosal, Director of Research, PAU, giving an overview of the PAU achievements and research activities, said that the university has played a prominent role in ushering in green revolution and making the nation self-sufficient on food front. He added that the sustainability in productivity of crops has become a challenging task due to continuous and over-exploitation of natural resources and excessive use of inputs. Precision agriculture integrates a suite of technologies and recognizes the variations in soil nutrients in a field and helps apply the right quantities at the right place at the right time with the use of Global Positioning System (GPS) and Geographic Information System (GIS), said he. Dr. Gosal said that PAU has formulated several collaborative projects to address the issues of conservation agriculture, natural resource management and efficient use of inputs.

Dr Nishritha Bopana, IUSSTF, New Delhi, speaking on this occasion, on 'Indo-US Science and Technology Forum-Catalysing over the years,' said that IUUSSTF program helps to create awareness through exchange and dissemination of information and opportunities in promoting bilateral scientific and technological cooperation. She shared the objectives and flagship initiatives of the forum.

Mr. J.B.S. Sangha, Member, PAU Board of Management and Dr. (Mrs.) Neeta D. Kang, also graced the occasion. Present on the occasion were students and their teachers from Moscow State University of Agricultural Engineering, experts on precision agriculture from USA, Deans, Directors, Officers, Additional Directors, Coordinator of Research, Heads of Departments, faculty members, students from PAU.

The technical session II 'Opening ice-breaker technical session' was chaired by Dr Dwayne Westfall and saw the participation of all the delegates. A souvenir of Indo-US workshop was also released on this occasion by the chief guest and other guests.

Earlier, Dr PPS Lubana, Dean, College of Agricultural Engineering and Technology, PAU, chairing the inaugural session, welcomed the chief guest, guests of honour and delegates from across the globe. He emphasized that the innovative agro practices need to be adopted towards transformation of Indian agriculture – to precision farming practices which will result in stretching the agro input resources mani-fold to increase agricultural productivity both in quality and quantity.

An exhibition of farm machinery was organized on the occasion. Earlier, a curtain eraser of the workshop was presented. The awards were presented to the guests of honour and to the dignitaries sharing the dias. The award on behalf of the Colorado State University, American Society of Agronomy were presented to Dr. Kang. The two-year membership of the society was awarded.

Dr CJS Pannu, Chairman, Punjab Chapter, Indian Society of Agricultural Techniques and Technologies, proposed a vote of thanks.
News From: http://www.7StarNews.com

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