Thursday, May 9, 2013


Ludhiana, May 9:-

Punjab agriculture has been dominated by paddy-wheat rotation. This has contributed significantly to the economy of Punjab over the years. The input intensive agriculture especially of paddy, that was followed in the state, with a focus on assuring national food security, has led to the stress on natural resource base, namely, decline in water quality and quantity, soil health and biodiversity. Further, as expected from law of diminishing return, profit of farmer has declined. These economic and ecological consequences, call for an urgent need of agriculture diversification in the state. The Punjab Government and the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) have been seriously taking up this matter with the central government. The Punjab Chief Minister has recently held a series of meetings with experts and the progressive farmers to develop a plan for agriculture

diversification in Punjab. One of the major proposals is of setting up of a 'Centre of Excellence for Crop diversification in Punjab' at PAU. The University submitted a comprehensive proposal document to the Punjab government. New technologies that can help in enhancing production per unit of land and water, without adversely affecting the agro ecology, are needed.

The document with a budget layout of Rs 198 crore (for a period of five years) has given strong focus on: crop improvement, bio-technology, horticulture, agro-forestry, soil and water conservation, farm mechanisation, processing and value addition; quality seed and planting material production; market intelligence, human resource development and transfer of technology. The challenge of climate change, more specifically, climate extremities, has also been focused for developing adaption technologies and mitigation strategies.

In the high level meeting held at Chandigarh on 6th May, 2013, chaired by the Chief Minister, Punjab, the proposal was discussed and approved in principle for inclusion in the document to be submitted to the central government.

The PAU Vice-Chancellor, Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, while thanking the Punjab government for accepting the PAU proposal highlighted that the efforts will lead to the crop diversification and popularisation of resource conservation technologies, which will ensure sustainability of agriculture for future generations. The funds available for this Centre will also help restore the scientific human resource required for giving push to diversification of agriculture programm

Dr S.S.Gosal, Director of Research said the crop improvement for maize, cotton, mungbean, arhar, soybean, forages, basmati rice, agro forestry, will prove useful for the sustainability of Punjab agriculture, adding that the biotechnology combined with traditional breeding, will play a vital role in quick development of varieties. Citrus, the main fruit crop of Punjab will also be diversified for broadening the fruit availability window said he. Tissue culture techniques for mass production of citrus, poplar, sugarcane and potato will also be receiving focus, he said, adding that high-tech fruit nursery will be established at different places in the state.

The above research agenda will lead to enhanced development in the state by evolving and popularization of improved varieties possessing high yield, better quality, tolerance to major pests and diseases and other stresses, the conservation of natural resources, reduced use of agro-chemicals, promoting mechanised farming, quality seed, and mass production of planting material.

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