Tuesday, March 12, 2013



"Diversification from traditional paddy-wheat cropping system alternate crops like maize, cotton and vegetables is a must to sustain farmer's income". This was stated by Sh. G.S. Sandhu, IAS, Financial Commissioner (Development), Punjab while addressing the farmers after inaugurating the Regional Kisan mela organized by Punjab Agricultural University at Rauni (Patiala) today.

Elaborating his point, Sh. Sandhu said that there was a likelihood that assured procurement of wheat and paddy will be difficult in the near future as the other states like Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, Bihar and other eastern states have increased their production of rice and wheat. Hence, we need to adopt to adopt diversification which is the need of the hour", he said, adding that the allocation of Rs. 500 crores for diversification by Govt. of India is a modest step in this direction. He informed that under National Horticulture Mission, several incentives are given to the farmers for diversifying to fruit crops. "Sustaining farmer's income should be our top priority, he remarked.

Sh. Sandhu further said, modern era is age of technology. Internet offers a cheap, fast and very effective media of communication, which should be visualised for transfer of knowledge and farm technology to farmers. He called upon the scientists and researchers of PAU to play an active role in the diversification of agriculture, motivating the farmers to shift from the traditional wheat-paddy rotation to alternate crops.

Presiding over the mela, PAU Vice Chancellor, Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon said, vegetable cultivation in the Punjab state needs to be promoted in a big way. The kisan mela theme this year has been aptly chosen as "Ghar di sabzi daal ugao, sehat banao paise bachao" (grow vegetables and pulses in your household kitchen garden, save money and stay healthy". If each of the 12 lakh families in Punjab devote even one kanal for the cultivation of vegetables and pulses, this will put 1.5 lakh acre under vegetable cultivation, which will be a welcome step towards diversification, he said.

Dr. Dhillon further said that vegetables from Nasik (Maharashtra) are being exported to Pakistan. A little effort by Punjab farmers can open several opportunities for them for vegetable export. He cautioned that for export purpose the produce should be free from pesticides residue to meet international standards. He had a word of advise for basmati growers to be very careful in the use of pesticides/fertilizers if they do not want their export consignments to be rejected.

Emphasizing on conservation of natural resources, Dr. Dhillon said intensive cultivation in Punjab yielding 110 quintal of wheat and paddy per hectare sucks a lot of nutrients from the soil which need to be replenished. Increasing production further is an uphill task but profit margins can be enhanced by reducing input costs. He mentioned that farmers could enhance profits by following resource conservation technologies, such as use of laser land leveller, tensio meter etc. He said that current agriculture had become scientific and suggested farmers to connect with the farm literature published by PAU.

Earlier, the PAU Director of Extension Education, Dr. M.S. Gill while welcoming the guests and farmers emphasized upon farmers to follow the recommendations and advice of PAU experts in their day-to-day farm operations. The farmers could enhance profitability through starting auxiliary occupations such as bee-keeping, poultry, dairy, nursery production, mushroom growing, etc., he said. Urging the farmers to keep a constant liaison with farm experts at Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), Farm Advisory Service Scheme (FASS) and the Regional Stations Dr Gill said that PAU organizes several training programmes for farmers and farm women at these centres.

Dr. S.S. Gosal, the PAU Director of Research who spoke on the research achievements of the university, said that PAU endeavors evolving crop varieties that are high-yielding, early maturing, of better quality, require less water and are immune to insect-pests and diseases.

Dr. Gosal informed that the University has recently released six new varieties for the forthcoming kharif season. These include "PR 121, and PR 122"of 'A' Grade paddy, "Punjab Basmati 3 and Pusa Punjab Basmati 1509" of basmati rice, "PMH 7" of maize and "HG 365" of guar. He elaborated on the superior characteristics of the new varieties over the existing ones.

The agro-exhibition stalls displayed the farm related products, including pumps, spray machinery, tractors, etc. at an impressive agro-industrial exhibition. At the university stalls, the farm scientists presented a spectrum of innovations and package of technologies to farmers and farm women for a change in the existing agricultural scenario; stagnant production, static incomes and growing indebtedness.

The seed sale counters witnessed huge rush of farmers who were keen to buy seeds of a newly released paddy varieties. There was a big demand for seeds of vegetables and of fruit plants. Publication stall by Centre for Communication and International Linkages sold farm literature.

News From: http://www.7StarNews.com

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