Punjab News Express/Pardeep Luthra
GURDASPUR: A large inflow of farmers was witnessed at The Kisan Mela of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) held at the Regional Station, Gurdaspur today. The theme of the Kisan Mela was “Sow PAU seeds, adopt subsidiary occupations, do efficient marketing, maintain farm records”.
The Mela was graced with more than 100 stalls with exhibits as diverse as implements, improved seeds, solar energy, farm literature, etc.. The Mela was presided over by Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice Chancellor, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana. Dr Rajinder Singh Sidhu, Director Extension, PAU, Dr Ashok Kumar, Director Research, Dr Sarabjit Singh, Additional Director (Research), Dr P S Aulakh, Additional Director (Extension Education) and Dr G.S. Butter, Additional Director (Extension Education) were also present on the occasion.
In his welcome address, Dr. R.S. Sidhu, Director Extension while greeting the gathering, highlighted the poignant role of Kisan Melas in ensuring a regular interaction between the agriculture scientists and the farmers. He urged the farmers to regularly access the extension services of PAU, so that their problems are readily addressed. He emphasized that PAU is duty- bound to ameliorate the problems of the farmers of Punjab. Dr Sidhu also highlighted the Regional Research Centre at Gurdaspur as one the biggest Regional Research Centre of PAU.
Towards the end, he lauded the role of Dr B S Dhillon, Vice Chancellor, PAU for his relentless efforts in ensuring a productive output of PAU. Dr Sidhu also welcomed the media, who play a positive role in disseminating the knowledge of PAU to the farmers.
Delivering his presidential remarks, Dr B.S. Dhillon, urged the farmers to judiciously use the agricultural inputs, in the right amount and in the right manner. He asserted the judicious use of fertilizer and water resources, along with regular soil testing and restricted use of pesticides for increasing the production of the crop and for envisioning a profit for framers. He advised the farmers to adopt resource conservation technologies like laser land leveler, tensiometer, late sowing varieties of paddy, etc., in consonance with the dire need to conserve water for posterity.
Dr Dhillon drew attention to the matchless symbiotic relationship between scientists and the farmers which these kisan melas have been able to establish over a period of time. Commending the farmers for their regular inputs, he said they aided in reprioritizing as well as reorienting research at PAU. He suggested the farmers that the initial trials of new varieties be conducted on a small scale only and the results be shared with the scientists. In addition to citing crop diversification as the way forward, Dr Dhillon stated that subsidiary activities like beekeeping, cultivating fruits and vegetables would be conducive for economic sustainability. He further pointed out that mechanized farming and marketing facilitated by cooperatives could result in drastically low input and labour costs.
To enhance agri-profits, Dr Dhillon suggested the farmers to take stock of their farm expenses regularly, use improved seed and shun unnecessary expenditure. Cautioning against paddy stubble burning, he said the plumes of smoke posed a great threat to environmental, human and soil health while using it as compost can enhance soil fertility.
Dr Ashok Kumar, Director of Research, PAU, elaborated upon several new varieties of seeds released by the university. Informing about improved technologies, he highlighted the use of cling film in packaging for increasing shelf life of vegetables, pouch packaging for tomato juice, precision farming. Referring to future primacies, Dr Ashok Kumar said that in the wake of recent environmental changes, PAU’s research is now focusing on the judicious use of water and on developing heat tolerant, pest resistant and mechanized harvestable varieties.
Later, Dr. Ram Sakal Singh, Director, Regional Research Station, Gurdaspur proposed the vote of thanks to the gathering.
The scientists of PAU answered an array of questions from the farmers during an interactive technical session. Acknowledging the diligent efforts of PAU, Mr Cheema and Mr Bains, both local farmers, presented Dr B S Dhillon, Vice Chancellor, PAU with a cheque of Rs. 5000/- each for the endowment fund of PAU. The students of Institute of Agriculture, Gurdaspur enthralled the audience with a bhangra performance.