Thursday, July 4, 2013



A one-day stakeholders' workshop on United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) funded project "Capacity Building in National Planning for Food Security" was organized by the Department of Economics and Sociology of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) here today. The progressive farmers and entrepreneurs from across the Punjab state; representatives of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD); faculty of Economics from Punjabi University, Patiala; scientists from Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVSU), Ludhiana; faculty from Ludhiana city colleges; and PAU senior officials, heads, faculty members and students of various departments participated in the workshop.

Speaking on this occasion, Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, emphasized that proper planning is vital to address the issues of food security, environmental protection (conservation of natural resources), and farm sustainability. He recalled Hon'ble President of India, Sh. Pranab Mukherjee's address "Agriculture sector in India is a crucial lifeline of the people," which was delivered during the International Conference on "Sustainable Agriculture for Food and Livelihood Security," organized at PAU as a part of University Golden Jubilee Celebrations in November 2012. Dr Dhillon stressed on ensuring food security to all. He appreciated the initiative taken by the PAU Department of Economics and Sociology in the organization of this much needed workshop.

Dr S.S. Johl, Chancellor, Central University of Punjab, Bathinda, stated that there is no dearth of food grains in India. "But, there is a lot of food wastage due to mismanagement, lack of proper storage capacity for storing food grains, and due to poor distribution system," he pointed out. Even the food grains are exported at loss, he observed, while emphasizing that a shift from food production to proper management, storage, distribution and a new category of market is essential to meet the food requirements of the teeming population.

Prof. Ramesh Chand, Director, National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research, New Delhi, remarked that the notion of food security must expand with development and rise in income. Food security akin to wheat and rice security, is a narrow and traditional vision of food security, he observed. Voluntary hunger is widespread in the country and that the under-nutrition is widespread even amongst non-poor in India, he expressed.

Dr J.S. Dhiman, Additional Director of Research (Natural Resource and Plant Health Management), PAU, expressed concern over the farm issues being faced in contemporary agriculture in Punjab state such as depleting under groundwater table, unsustainability of paddy—wheat cropping system, over tractorization, abrupt climate change, rising cost of inputs, reduced profitability, shrinking land holdings, etc.

Earlier, Dr M.S. Sidhu, Head, Department of Economics and Sociology, welcomed the dignitaries and the participants. He said that food security is a burning issue and needs to be addressed immediately.

Dr Kamal Vatta, Principal Investigator of the project "Capacity Building in National Planning for Food Security," proposed the vote of thanks.
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