Sunday, April 3, 2011



A delegation from seven countries of Latin America arrived at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), today. They interacted with the senior officers, Deans, Directors and Heads of Departments on various areas of agricultural research, education and technology transfer where collaboration could be likely. The delegation, headed by Mr Juan Alfredo Pinto Saavedra, Ambassador of Columbia to India and Head of the group of Latin American Group of Latin America and Caribbean countries (GRULAC), had six other members, namely, Mr Julie de la Guardia A, Ambassador of Panama, Mr Javier Paulinich, Ambassador of Peru, Mr Cesar Ferrer, Ambassador of Uruguay, Mr Cristian Barros, Ambassador of Chile, Mr. Miguel Angel Ramirez Ramos, Ambassador of Cuba and Mr. Chandradath Singh, High Commissioner for Trinidad and Tobago.

The PAU Registrar, Dr. Raj Kumar Mahey, welcomed the delegation to PAU. While apprising the delegation about the organization and administrative set up of PAU, he said that the University has played a key role in ushering in an era of green revolution that made the state excel in its agriculture and to contribute remarkably toward the national food security programme.

The participating Ambassadors shared the agricultural strengths of their countries and the specific areas where potential collaboration was possible with PAU. Mr. Pinto Saavedra, described PAU as \'Impressive\' due to its notable contribution toward green revolution that made the country food secure. He said that there was much to learn from it and that through commitment and promise, purposeful collaboration can develop in mutually beneficial identified areas. He said that the group visited PAU to make known the agricultural scenario of the Latin American countries and to enter into an era of collaboration. The aim of the visit was to identify new areas of economic integration between the region and public and private sector in Punjab. Mr Saavedra said the delegation was interested in developing various agricultural techniques conducive to agricultural crops there.

Mr. Paulinichi said that paprika, mango, potato were the major crops in Peru. He said that with 3500 varieties of potato and mango export to Japan, the country had a strong horticultural base. He looked forward to joint efforts in this area with PAU. Mr. Guardia said that Panama had about three million people with strong agriculture based on coffee, water melon, pineapple, etc. Mr. Ferrer said the areas covering efficient food production, rural economics, soybean, wheat and rice based agriculture were important in Uruguay. Mr. Barros said that more access to food to fight hunger was the need for accomplishing the United Nation\'s goal of producing enough food by 2050. Mr. Ramos highlighted sugar technology, bio-fuel crops, urban agriculture, organic farming as the facets of Cuban agriculture and pointed out that the collaborative areas could include enhancing food production, technology for growing rice in dry areas, agriculture for industry, climate change studies, scientific storage of food grains and issues about strong agrarian sustainability.

Mr. Chandradath Singh expressed that there were much to learn from PAU regarding efficient use of natural resources and inputs. The small economy is particularly vulnerable, he observed, adding that sustainability concerns in agriculture need to be addressed through focused collaboration. He took keen interest in knowing the PAU programmes on fashion designing and curriculum in journalism as the potential collaborative areas. The discussion that was held covered broader economic spectrum including transfer of agricultural knowledge and technology, food processing, bio-fuels, education, biotechnology, impact of climate change, etc. The delegation members were presented with floral bouquets, PAU mementos and dockets of information about the University.

The PAU Director of Research, Dr. S.S.Gosal highlighted the research programmes of PAU saying that about 60% budget of the University is spent on research programmes. He said that 700 scientists are connected with the University research programmes which lay focus on natural resource management, climate change, diversification in agriculture, post harvest studies, farm mechanization, basic sciences, home science, etc.

The PAU Director of Extension Education, Dr M.S.Gill said that PAU caters to the technology needs of 10.00 lac farming families in the state through its time-tested extension education programmes that include technology demonstrations, field days, kisan melas, adaptive trials, training camps, etc. He highlighted that the efforts of extension activities is to enhance face-to-face interaction between farmers and farm scientists. He highlighted the new programmes aimed at promoting public-private-partnership linking researchers, extension workers, industry and farmers, that PAU is steering through its Krishi Vigyan Kendras, Farm Advisory Service Scheme and Regional Stations.

Dr. Neelam Grewal, Dr. R.S.Sidhu, Dr. D.S.Dhillon, highlighted the educational programmes being followed in College of Home Science, College of Basic Sciences and Humanities and College of Agriculture, respectively.

The Additional Director of Communication, Dr. Jagtar Singh Dhiman, who coordinated the interaction, said that PAU has developed landmark facilities of research and education in biotechnology, through developing a School of Agricultural Biotechnology (SAB), Nano Science and Electron Microscopy, through establishing a state-of-the-art Electron Microscopy and Nano Science(EMN) Lab and School of Information Technology (SIT). He spoke on the farm literature and other communication activities being followed at PAU for disseminating need-based knowledge to farmers. Dr. J.S.Sandhu and Dr. S.S.Mukhopadhyay delved on specific facilities available in SAB and EMN Lab.

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