Thursday, March 10, 2011



The national exhibition –cum-training workshop of 'Plant and machinery for horticulture, vegetable and floriculture' kick started today at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU). Organized by PAU in association with the National Horticulture Board (NHB), Gurgaon, the programme would continue till March 12. About 300 farmers from across the country including progressive growers of horticulture and vegetable crops from Punjab and high officials of Horticultural Department participated in the event.

Inaugurating the exhibition, the chief guest Bijay Kumar, Managing Director, NHB, Gurgoan, said that tremendous labour is required for the cultivation of horticultural crops. Expressing concern over the shortage of labour, he added that the area of cultivation is reducing and there is a need to mechanize the cultivation of horticultural crops and to promote and popularize the horticultural machines. Mr Kumar appreciated the efforts of PAU in organizing this exhibition -cum- workshop which aims at popularizing the machinery used for cultivation of horticultural crops and training the farmers to enhance the production of these crops.

The guest of honour, Harshvardhan Deshmukh, former Agriculture Minister, Maharashtra, speaking on this occasion, said that India has gained self-sufficiency and a good degree of stability of food production. This created an urgent need for providing health security to the population by supplying nutrition through balanced diet, added he, while stating that horticulture sector is an integral element for food and nutritional security in the country. Its various sub-segments such as fruits, vegetables, aromatic and herbal plants, flowers, spices and plantation crops are regarded as the essential ingredients of economic security. He laid emphasis on the training and exhibition of these machines by which farmers can be introduced with the latest technologies and machinery used for these crops.

Dr R.K. Mahey, Registrar, PAU, addressing the gathering, stated that the country is the world's second largest producer of vegetables next to China with an estimated production of about 50.09 million tonnes from an area of 4.5 million hectares at an average yield of 11.3 tonnes per hectare. India shares about 12% of the world output of vegetables from about 2.0% of cropped area in the country. In Punjab, horticulture crops are currently grown over an area of 2.05 lakh hectares which accounts for 4.8% of the net sown area. The area under fruit crops is 0.47 lakh hectares (ha) and 1.58 lakh ha is under vegetable crops which accounts for 2.5% of the total vegetable production in the country. Flowers are grown over an area of 0.006 lakh ha, said he, adding that the workshop has been designed to provide an opportunity to the manufacturers, farmers, government officials and user community to deliberate on the status of plant and machineries available in the country.

Dr DS Cheema and Dr PPS Lubana, Deans of the College of Agriculture and the College of Agricultural Engineering and Technology, PAU, said that during the three-day event, major departments of the university including Farm Machinery and Power Engineering, Soil and Water Engineering, Processing and Food Engineering, Agronomy, Horticulture, Vegetable Crops and Floriculture and Landscaping would equip the participants with all the technical information, latest technologies and practices recommended by PAU. The coordinators of research, heads and members of faculty of various departments of PAU were present on the occasion.

The national exhibition witnessed demonstrations of latest technical know-how and use of improved plant and machineries for horticulture sector. Besides the facility to show on-farm operation of machineries used for hi-tech production, post-harvest management etc., machineries for canopy management of orchards, protected cultivation, micro irrigation were also at display.
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