Ludhiana: The two-day Kisan Mela at PAU, Ludhiana that began today witnessed a huge footfall from farmers and farm-women from Punjab and its neighbouring states.
The Mela with the theme, “Process Agricultural Produce to make Farming more Profitable”, was inaugurated by the Chief Guest, Padma Shri Ram Saran Verma.
Lavishing praise on PAU’s immense contribution in making the country food-sufficient vis-à-vis wheat and paddy, he applauded the efforts of the Vice Chancellor, Padma Shri Dr BS Dhillon and his team of dedicated scientists.
He also expressed his concern on the need to reduce agricultural cost liabilities, increase profitability as well as conservation of natural resources.
In this regard, he exhorted the farmers to emulate the farming techniques adopted by the farmers of Maharashtra, especially focussing on cultivation of fruits and vegetables.
Verma, a progressive farmer and kingpin of banana cultivation, motivated the farmers to adopt cultivation of more profitable crops such as Japanese Mentha and adopt processing of various agricultural products to supplement their income.
He expressed satisfaction on the exemplary research work conducted at the university owing to which the PAU has been granted the Sardar Patel ICAR Best Institution Award.
The Vice Chancellor, PAU, Dr BS Dhillon, greeted the gathering and said that mutual interaction between agricultural scientists and farmers formed the crux of such pastoral fairs.
Commending the excellent outreach of the university through its Kisan Melas, he exhorted the farmers to follow PAU recommendations and advised them to keep themselves abreast of the latest farming techniques.
Enlarging upon the theme of the Mela he sensitised the farmers and entrepreneurs about the benefits of food processing which included preservation of food, alleviation of food shortage and transformation of agricultural produce into varied forms of food.
He also urged the farmers to adopt subsidiary occupations such as dairy, poultry, bee-keeping and mushroom cultuivation. He exhorted the self help groups to strengthen the farming community in the field of agro-processing, which could also help in reducing wastages and increasing farmers’ income.
The Vice Chancellor also expressed his gratitude towards the farming community for being the reason behind the phenomenal growth of the university.
Owing to their whole hearted support, Punjab had successfully increased the area under paddy stubble management from 16% last year to 57% in the current year. Further, Dr Dhillon urged the farmers to attend trainings in food processing at the Food Processing Training Centre at various KVKs or the CIPHET at Ludhiana.
The Guest of Honour, Sutantar Kumar Airi, Director, Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, threw light on challenges posed due to ecological changes and also stated that the government was keenly collecting data on soil samples so that necessary policy-making could be materialised.
He stressed upon the judicious use of pesticides and chemicals, and stated that limited use of the same had saved 200 crores in Punjab. He also urged the farmers to adopt subsidiary occupations under ATMA Programme as well as threw light on various subsidies provided on agricultural machinery.
Dr. NS Bains, Director of Research, PAU, enlightened the farmers regarding improved crop varieties and safety techniques recommended by the university.
Keeping crop-diversification in focus, he recommended new varieties such as Pusa Basmati 1718, Maize PMH 11, Moong SML 1827, Napier Bajra PBN 342 and fruits such as Punjab apple, guava and fig. He also informed the farmers about lucky seed drill for paddy-sowing.
D JS Mahal, Director of Extension Education, Punjab Agricultural University, shared with the audience the various outreach initiatives adopted by the university, such as, Kheti Sandesh- the university’s digital weekly newspaper, Changi Kheti and Progressive Farming- monthly magazines, Kisan App and the Farmers’ Portal on the PAU website.
He also shared the university’s toll-free number with the audience for an instant connect with the scientists.
On the occasion, several progressive farmers were awarded. The Chief Minister’s Award was given to Gurwinder Singh Sandhu, Vill. Zindawala, Distt. Tarn Taran for shunning wheat-paddy crop rotation, adopting cultivation of fruits, flowers and vegetables, and promoting gardening; and to Sarabjit Singh Dhillon, Vill. Burj Dhilwan, Distt. Mansa.
The CRI pump award was given to Rohit Gupta, Vill. Lambran, Distt. Jallandhar for adopting modern water management techniques.
Prakash Kaur Sraan Memorial Award was given to Pradeep Singh, Vill. Beerawaal. Distt. Patiala for his special contribution to crop production/gardening/floriculture and allied occupations.
Enthusiastic farmers thronged to the stalls exhibiting agricultural implements, improved seeds, farm literature, etc. PAU scientists answered the queries of the farmers during an interactive session.
Subject matter specialists of PAU gave useful tips to farmers about the new crop production and protection technologies, farm mechanization for crops, etc.
There was a huge rush of farmers for the purchase of seeds and vegetable mini-kits. Farmers also purchased farm literature and fruit plants from the sale outlets that were set-up for the purpose.