Friday, March 1, 2013


LUDHIANA, March 1:--

A Regional Kisan Mela was organized by Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) at its Regional Research Station for Kandi Area (RRSKA) at Ballowal Saunkhri of district Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, today. Dr. G .S. Nanda, Member, Board of Management, and former Director of Research, PAU inaugurated the mela, which focused on the theme, "Ghar Di Sabzi Dal Ugao, Sehat Banao, Paise Bhachao" (Grow pulses and vegetables in your household kitchen garden: save money and stay healthy). The PAU Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Baldev Singh Dhillon presided over the mela. Sh. H.S. Dhaliwal, SDM, Balachaur was the guest of honour.

Addressing a big gathering of farmers and farm women, Dr. Nanda said, eversince the establishment of Punjab Agricultural University in 1962, it has contributed a lot for the welfare of farmers of Punjab. "The establishment of PAU was indeed a blessing for the farmers of the state" he remarked, adding that the research by the University has given varieties and technologies that transformed the farming in the Punjab as well as in the country. The contributions of the University are recognized the world over, he said. Dr Nanda remarked that in the last 50 years, the state has spent an estimated Rs 2142 crore on PAU, whereas, a single research recommendation has benefitted the State by more than Rs 10,000 crore. Dr. Nanda, who himself has been an ace wheat breeder, complemented the PAU scientists for evolving farmer-friendly technologies. He also urged the farmers to keep a close liaison with the university scientists to reap the benefits of latest technologies. Dr Nanda appealed to the farmer of Kandi area to grow the recommended crop varieties. He cautioned that unrecommended wheat varieties are susceptible to diseases like yellow rust, which develops in Kandi and other hilly areas and later spreads to plains, threatening wheat cultivation in the entire Punjab state.

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. 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 the priorities in agriculture are changing fast. 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 soon be available to farmers, he informed. Dr. Dhillon also laid stress on custom hiring of farm machinery and emphasized on packaging of farm produce to get better returns.

Highlighting the research achievements of the university, Dr. S. S. Gosal, Director of Research, PAU informed that the University has recently released six new varieties which include two varieties of rice PR 121 and PR 122; two varieties of Basmati rice- Punjab Basmati 3 and Pusa Punjab Basmati 1509; one variety of maize, PMH- 7; and a variety of guar –HG 365. Giving details of these varieties, Dr. Gosal informed that the new paddy varieties are high yielding, resistant to bacterial blight and are improvement over PAU- 201. Punjab Basmati-3 is an improvement over the existing basmati-386 variety while Pusa Punjab Basmati-1509 will be a good replacement for Pusa- 1121, he informed. Dr. Gosal further told that PMH-7 is a short duration hybrid of maize suitable for sowing in spring season, while HG-365 guar is an early maturing variety which takes 105 days to mature. He informed that the seeds of all the new varieties will be available to farmers during the Kisan Melas in the current season.

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 PAU at RRSKA, 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 subscribe for 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 Khalsa College, Amritsar on March 5, 2013.

On this occasion, the dignitaries and participating farmers were shown around demonstrations and exhibits displayed to project latest technologies developed by different departments. The queries of farmers were addressed by subject matter experts of PAU who earlier provided farmers with useful tips about the selection of varieties, new crop production and protection technologies, farm mechanization and techniques for enhancing farm profits. The stalls by Self Help Groups, different KVKs, attracted farmers visiting the mela. There was rush of farmers for purchase of seeds of paddy (PR 122, PR 121,PR 118,PR 114,PR 111), Basmati rice (Punjab Basmati 3, Pusa 1121), Maize (J 1006), Bajra (FBC 16) Sesamum (RT 346) as well as vegetable mini kits. Farmers also purchased farm literature, fruit plants from the counters that were set-up for the purpose.

Dr. S. C. Sharma, Director (RRSKA) proposed a vote of thanks.

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