Wednesday, August 29, 2012



A 13-member delegation of Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ACRN) visited Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) today and held an interactive meet with PAU Vice-Chancellor, Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, deans, directors and heads of the various departments. The delegation, led by the Executive Secretary of ACRN, Professor B.Y. Abubakar, visited the PAU under the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP) which is a part of ACRN of Nigeria. Those present in the meet included PAU Registrar, Dr R.K. Mahey, Director of Research, S.S. Gosal, Director of Extension Education, Dr M.S. Gill, Dean of College of Agricultural Engineering and Technology (COAE&T), Dr PPS Lubana, Estate Officer-cum- Head of Farm Machinery and Power Engineering (FMPE), Dr J.S. Mahal, Additional Director Communication, Dr Jagtar Singh Dhiman and Deputy Director (Public Relations) Dr Ramandeep Jassal. The delegation members also visited COAE&T, wherein farm engineers apprised them of the farm mechanization technologies and agri-machinery and equipment, developed and evaluated by the PAU and recommended to the farmers.

Addressing the visiting delegation, Dr Dhillon said that India shares friendly and co-ordial relations with African countries, especially, Nigeria. Stating that the technology available in India is more applicable to Nigeria, he expressed that the duo can enter into collaboration for the student-faculty exchange and research and training programmes. He suggested the establishment of a joint agri-institute and added that both the nations as well as institutes will be the beneficiaries. Dr Dhillon remarked, "When India started progressing in farm sector, during 1960s, the farm mechanization was not that evident. It was PAU that provided the new agri-technologies and inputs to the nation, which later on were transferred to the farmers and thus, paved way for green revolution." Investment in agriculture is a road to eliminate poverty, he said, while briefing the delegation about the organizational set-up of the PAU. In addition to the Kisan Melas, the University has several mechanisms of technology transfer to farmers. Responding to a query by the delegation member, Dr. Dhillon divulged that PAU has set up department of Business Management; Production, Commercialization and IPR Cell and the School of Business Studies and Management. He added that PAU has a strong research-extension linkage.

Prof. Abubakar said that agriculture is a key component of Nigerian economy, contributing nearly 44% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Nearly 140 million population of Nigeria is engaged in agriculture and largely consists of small farmers who reside in rural areas, he disclosed. The country has 18 agricultural research institutes and three farm universities, told he, adding that ACRN is committed to reduce poverty and increase food security by contributing to the establishment of sustainable agricultural growth and development in Nigeria. He evinced keen interest in cooperative venture with the PAU in mutually beneficial areas.

The experts explained the delegation members about the commercialization of the farm mechanization technologies, tie-ups of PAU with national and international organizations and industry, functioning of research and technology transfer mechanism, the role of Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVKs), sociological impact of mechanized agriculture, etc. Dr. Mahey highlighted about the fellowships , scholarships and other facilities offered to the students adding that the international students could join the PAU programmes through ICAR route.

Dr Lubana said that the University has strong linkages with the Agricultural Implement Manufacturers Association, with which the experts hold monthly meetings. This helps in the commercialization of farm mechanization technologies, he remarked. Briefing the delegation about the academic programmes of the College, he said that it aims at designing, developing and evaluation farm machinery and equipment to meet the emerging challenges, trends and requirements.

Dr Mahal said, "We are fully dependent on machinery as far as the mechanization for rice and wheat crops is concerned. PAU, industry and farmers work hand-in-hand to enhance standardization of agricultural machines through testing and popularize latest farm equipment, highlighted he, adding that Punjab is a hub of combine harvester machine.

Dr Gursahib Singh, Senior Research Engineer, explained the delegates about the PAU technologies like Happy Seeder, laser land leveler, bed planter, zero-till drill, trench digger for paired row sugarcane planting, vegetable transplanter and mechanical transplanting of paddy. The delegates were also shown round various labs of the FMPE like precision agriculture lab, soil dynamics lab and ergonomics lab.

Earlier, Dr Dhiman, welcoming the dignitaries and the delegates, said that PAU is a premiere institute of agriculture in India. Many agrarian challenges are coming up and PAU is revamping its programmes keeping in view the feedback received from the stakeholders as well as field level functionaries, he added. As the number of small farmers is on rise, the thrust is also being laid on developing cost-effective and viable technologies for them, said he.

The delegation members were presented with dockets of information about PAU.
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