Saturday, September 22, 2012



A two-day Kisan Mela at the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) concluded with great success. The mela saw the participation of ten-member delegation of Nuffield Global Agri-Scholars from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Ireland in addition to mammoth gathering of farmers. The new seeds of wheat varieties "PBW-621, PBW-343, PBW-550, HD-2967 and DBW-17," barley "PL-807," berseem "BL-10," lentil "LL-931," gobhi sarson "GSC-5 and GSC-6," raya "PBR-91 and RLC -1" and linseed "LC-2063" were in great demand among the farmers. Besides, PAU farm literature and vegetable kits also sold like hot cakes.

Speaking at the prize-distribution ceremony, the chief guest, Dr R. P. Dua, Assistant Director General (Food and Fodder Crops), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi, appreciated the large-scale participation of the Punjab farmers in PAU Kisan Mela. The state farmers repose full faith in the university and consider it as a temple, where they find happiness, solace and latest farm-worthy knowledge. Stating that India is agriculture dominated country; he said that more than 70 per cent of population is engaged in farming. The state farmers work with great dedication and devotion to increase the food grain production, which is evident from the record production of paddy and wheat in 2011, highlighted he. Punjab has always remained at top spot in terms of maximum contribution to the nations' food kitty. Dr Dua said that Father of Green Revolution, Dr Norman E. Borlaug always lauded PAU and Punjab farmers and was ever keen to visit the university to interact with scientists and farmers. He pointed out that the challenges of climate change, depleting water resources and nutrient deficiencies in various crops need to be addressed by the farm experts for agri-sustainability. He congratulated the award-winning farmers.

The special guest, Dr Mangal Singh Sandhu, Director of Agriculture, Punjab, said that the PAU, since its inception in 1962, has always been advising and updating the knowledge of the farmers about various farm issues. Urging the farmers to adopt agriculture diversification, he called upon the Central Government to fix minimum support price (MSP) for other crops and also ensure their procurement. Dr Sandhu assured the PAU that the State Department of Agriculture will continue to disseminate the knowledge to the farmers in the villages through promoting PAU farm literature. He informed that nearly 30,000 copies of PAU's "Package of Practices for Kharif Crops 2012" were supplied to all village panchayats in Punjab. He stressed on increasing the area under vegetables and pulses for diversification.

Presiding over the mela, Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, advised the farmers to use water and agro-chemicals judiciously. In view of shrinking land holdings, he suggested the farmers to go in for auxiliary occupations like bee-keeping, mushroom cultivation, nursery raising, etc. for income generation. Farm mechanization, value-addition, processing and marketing of agri-produce also need special emphasis, he stressed. Highlighting that the strength of girl students (56%) is on increase at PAU, he expressed concern over the declining interest of boys in academics. Dr Dhillon said the PAU experts, state farmers and Punjab Agriculture Department have excellent coordination with each other. He urged the ICAR to formulate a policy to check the use of unrecommended varieties and agro-chemicals by farmers.

The Associate Director of Research, Dr P.S. Chahal, highlighting the research activities underway at PAU, said that the university is carrying out research on about hundred different crops. The research programmes are revamped in light of feedback from the farmers. Due to climate change, the focus is on developing new varieties which are resistant to various diseases and insect-pests and can withstand vagaries of weather, he told. Efforts are also on to evolve varieties of sugarcane that can be harvested with machine, he added.

Earlier, Dr M.S. Gill, Director of Extension Education, welcoming the dignitaries and the participating farmers, said that the major aim of the PAU is to strengthen its linkages with the farming community. The farmers should use the expertise and technical knowledge, imparted to them by the PAU experts, through Krishi Vigyan Kendras, Farm Advisory Service Scheme and PAU Doots. He expressed happiness over the rising interest of the farmers in PAU farm literature.

The PAU Dean, Directors, heads, faculty members and member of PAU Board of Management, Mrs Urwinder K. Grewal, attended the concluding function. The famous Punjabi singer and alumnus of PAU, Sukhwinder Sukhi enthralled the audience with his singing skills.
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