Tuesday, March 5, 2013



Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) organized its second Kisan Mela of the forthcoming Kharif season, at Khalsa College Amritsar, today. Dr J.S. Kolar, Member, Board of Management, and former Director of Extension Education, PAU, inaugurated the mela while Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, presided over the mela. Dr Daljit Singh, Principal of the College was the Guest of Honour. The mela focused on promoting the kitchen garden through its theme "Ghar di sabzi-dal ugao: sihat banao, paise bachao (Grow vegetables and pulses in your household kitchen garden: Save money and Stay healthy)."

Addressing the large gathering of farmers, Dr Kolar said that conservation of the natural resources was of utmost importance. \"Our Guru Nanak recognised their importance centuries ago and gave us the message \'Pawan Guru Pani Pita, Mata Dharat Mahat\'. He cautioned that the depleting underground water was pushing the Punjab state towards drought. \"Conservation of water is must for the survival of mankind\", he remarked. Dr Kolar further said that continuous cultivation of wheat and paddy is exhausting the soil of its nutrients and making it poorer day by day. He called upon the farmers to shift some area under paddy to other crops and bring diversification in farming. Several diversification options are available which need to be adopted, he said. Giving the example of vegetable cultivation, Dr Kolar said it can prove beneficial, specially for the farmers of Amritsar, if they (farmers) explore their export potential through Amritsar airport. Dr. Kolar also stressed upon selling of farm produce by the farmers themselves eliminating the middle men and thus increasing their profitability.

Presiding over the mela, Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Baldev Singh Dhillon stressed upon the farmers to grow pulses and vegetables in their kitchen gardens. "This will not only provide healthy and nutritious food for your family but will also help you save money". he said adding that growing vegetables in your kitchen will provide fresh vegetables at lower cost. \"Vegetables in the market are stale, costly and at times contaminated with pesticides which are harmful\" he remarked. He further said that if every farming family starts growing vegetable and pulses in just one kanal, it will go a long way to contribute towards much needed diversification. Congratulating the farmers who came in large number to attend the mela, Dr. Dhillon said that over the years the purpose of Kisan Melas has changed from a technology transfer event to a platform for 'knowledge sharing'. "Not only farmers gain new knowledge from scientists, they (the scientists) also get valuable feedback from farmers on these melas" he said, adding that the farmers' feedback is important to reorient the research. Dr. Dhillon further said that research at the university is focused on evolving technologies to produce power from agro -waste. Paddy straw disposal is a big problem and experiments are on in the university to produce biogas from paddy straw. This technology will be available to farmers by next Kisan Mela in September 2013

Dr Dhillon elaborated that the PAU scientists had developed need-based region and crop-specific technologies. He mentioned that farmers could add to their profits by following resource conservation technologies, proper marketing, and maintaining linkage with farm experts. He said that current agriculture had become knowledge-intensive and suggested farmers to make a habit of reading the farm literature brought out by PAU to gain knowledge of the latest. He highlighted that the resource conservation technologies such as tensiometer for scheduling irrigation in paddy and leaf colour chart for need-based use of nitrogen in paddy and maize. He emphasized on the use of farm yard manure and growing green manure crops for soil enrichment.

Highlighting the research achievements of the university, Dr. Jagtar Singh Dhiman, Additional Director of Research, PAU informed that the University undertakes research on more than 100 different crops and has so far developed about 725 different varieties. The university has recently released six new varieties of field crops 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. Giving characteristics of these varieties, Dr. Dhiman informed that the new paddy varieties are high yielding, resistant to bacterial blight and are improvement over the earlier high yielding variety-PAU- 201. Punjab Basmati-3 is an improvement over the existing tall basmati-386 variety while Pusa Punjab Basmati-1509 will be a good replacement for Pusa- 1121, he informed. Dr Dhiman further told that the PMH 7 is a short duration hybrid of maize which is suitable for spring season planting. It possesses attractive shiny deep orange flint grains. It is moderately tolerant to high temperature stress, post flowering stalk rot and shoot fly. It matures in 115 days and its average grain yield is 30 quintals per acre. HG 365 is an early maturing variety of guar that takes about 105 days to mature. Its average seed yield is 5.4 quintals per acre. The seeds of all the new varieties will be available to farmers during the Kisan Melas in the current season, he told.

Speaking on this occassion, Dr Daljit Singh, Principal, Khalsa College, Amritsar, said that farmers of Punjab are doing a great service to the humanity by producing food for the people. He informed that Khasla College has produced many scientists who have made their mark at the international level.

Earlier, the PAU Director of Extension Education, Dr. M.S. Gill while welcoming the Chief Guest and others said that Kisan Melas provide opportunity to the farmers to interact with experts. He told farmers to get in touch with experts of Krishi Vigyan Kendras, Farm Advisory Service Scheme and to follow the recommendations of PAU which are always released after thorough testing. He expressed satisfaction that farmers have displayed great enthusiasm for the mela and urged them to grow vegetables with the new farming techniques of poly house, net house and tunnel to get more profits and better quality of the crop. He also urged the farmers to subscribe to farm literature brought out by the University. Dr. Gill said that PAU organises training programmes on different subjects, which the farmers and farm women must participate in. He appreciated that with the help of Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), some self help groups (SHGs) in Kandi areas are doing useful work. He informed that the next Regional Kisan Mela will be held at Gurdarpur, on March 7, 2013.

Dr H. S Dhaliwal, Additional Director of Extension Education proposed a vote of thanks.

Farmers visiting the mela showed great enthusiasm in the stalls put by various departments of PAU. They were keen to purchase the seeds of new paddy and basmati rice varieties.
News From: http://www.7StarNews.com

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