Wednesday, September 18, 2013



Punjab Agricultural University organized 5th Kisan Mela of the forthcoming rabi season at its Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Patiala today. The mela focused on the theme – "Parali Saad ke Jatta, Na Kar Sab Da Man Khatta" (Do not burn paddy straw, do not evoke people's wrath". Smt. Karamjit Kaur Danewalia, a progressive Kinnow grower and Member, PAU Board of Management inaugurated the Mela while PAU Vice Chancellor, Dr. Baldev Singh Dhillon presided over. Two eminent farm scientists – Dr. M.S. Basu and Dr. Ram Parkash from Hindustan Insecticide Limited, New Delhi were the special guests.

In his presidential address Dr. Dhillon, said that the purpose behind organizing Kisan Melas is to have face-to-face interaction of farmers with university Scientists for efficient exchange of knowledge. "Not only farmers benefit from this interaction, but our Scientists too gain a lot from the farmers' feedback", he said, adding that this feedback helps the university to re-orient their research.

Expressing concern over the changing climate and deteriorating environment, Dr. Dhillon said that paddy straw burning by farmers is causing huge loss of precious nutrients and at the same time it is polluting the environment. Heat generated by burning paddy straw kills useful microbes in the soil leading to poor soil health and loss of soil fertility, he said. He urged the farmers to stop burning paddy straw and adopt other alternate eco-friendly means of its disposal developed by the university. Farmers can use Happy Seeder for sowing wheat into paddy stubbles while retaining parali as surface mulch. This technology helps in lesser wheat growth and improved soil health, he said. Baler helps in easy collection of loose paddy straw which can later be used in several ways like composting, energy generation and raising of mushrooms etc. He informed that PAU has recently evolved a new technology to produce biogas from paddy straw.

Dr. Dhillon also stressed upon the farmers to grow pulses and vegetables in their kitchen garden. "This will not only provide healthy and nutritious food for your family, but will also save lot of money which is spent otherwise on their purchase from market", he said. He also emphasized on growing Canola, Gobhi Sarson in the kitchen garden to meet the requirements of cooking oil. Urging the farmers to adopt efficient use of resources, he asked them to use leaf colour chart for need based use of nitrogen in maize, wheat and rice crops. He also urged them to develop a habit of reading PAU farm literature. Dr. Dhillon emphasized that there is a need to address the issues of marketing, mechanization and packaging of farm produce collectively by making co-operative.

Sharing her experiences, Smt. Karamjit Kaur Danewalia popularly known as "Kinnow Queen" said that farmers need to learn new farm technologies showcased in the kisan melas. She urged the farmers to sow only PAU recommended varieties which, she said, are not only high yielding but also are tolerant to insect-pests and diseases. She also asked the farmers to shift some area under paddy to other crops in order to bring diversification in farming. "Divide your fields in 5-6 parts and grow different crops", she said adding that diversified farming will help in increasing their income. Expressing concern over the environment, she urged the masses to grow more trees. "Plant a tree to celebrate the birthday of your kid", she remarked. She also urged for more participation of women in the Kisan Melas.

Highlighting the research achievements of the university, Dr. P.S. Chahal, Associate Director of Research informed that the university is conducting research on 100 different crops and since its inception in 1962, the university has developed 727 varieties of different crops. Of these, about 130 varieties have been released at national level. He further informed that 50 per cent of the wheat varieties released at national level have been developed by PAU. Giving details of the newly released varieties, Dr. Chahal said that late sown wheat variety PBW 658 gives about 80% more yield than PBW 373. Maize PMH-7 yields 30 quintals per acre and matures in 150 days. He also gave the details of other released varieties DK-3849 (Sunflower), Sweta (Guava), PBH-3 (Hybrid Brinjal), Punjab Glad-1, Punjab Purple Wave and Punjab Choco Gold (Gladiolous), Punjab Tej and Punjab Sandhuri (Chilli). He also delved on various production and protection technologies developed.

Earlier, the PAU Director of Extension Education, Dr. M.S. Gill, while welcoming the guests and farmers, said that farmers should rigorously follow the recommendations and advice of PAU experts in their day-to-day farm operations. He suggested that the farmers could enhance their profitability through starting auxiliary occupations such as bee-keeping, poultry, dairy, nursery production, mushroom growing, etc. \"Farmers should keep constant contact with PAU experts at KVKs, Farm Advisory Service Scheme and the Regional Stations to know the latest developments in agriculture\", he said. He also urged them to subscribe to the university farm literature. Dr. Gill informed that university has launched an Exhibition Van to showcase the latest technologies through films. This van will go to the remotest villages in Punjab to educate the farmers, he said. Dr. G.P.S. Sodhi, Associate Director (Training), KVK, Patiala proposed a vote of thanks.

Representatives of PAU departments interacted with the farmers to dispel their apprehensions, clear doubts and provide information and useful tips. The seed sale counters were the main attraction of the Mela, where farmers made bee-lines for purchasing seeds of rabi crop varieties. There was a great demand for seeds of vegetables and of fruit plants. Farmers keenly purchased seed of vegetable kits. Farm literature stall also attracted large number of farmers. Centre for Communication and International Linkages sold farm literature and enrolled new subscribers were enrolled for PAU farm magazines. The agro-exhibition stalls displayed the farm related products, including pumps, spray machinery, tractors, etc. at an impressive agro-industrial exhibition.

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