“CONNECT WITH PAU VIA PAU ONLINE PORTALS” SAYS DR JS MAHAL; PAU CONTINUES WITH ITS MARCH SERIES OF KISAN MELAS
FARMERS THRONG RESEARCH STATION AT BALLOWAL SAUNKHRI: PAU CONTINUES WITH ITS MARCH SERIES OF KISAN MELAS
The second in series of March Kisan Melas of Punjab Agricultural University witnessed a heavy footfall of farmers and farm women at Regional Research Station, Ballowal Saunkhri (Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar). The Mela with the theme “Process agricultural produce to make farming more profitable” was inaugurated by the worthy chief guest of the occasion Sh. Kulwant Singh Ahluwalia, Member, Board of Management, PAU. Dr. Sutantar Kumar Airi, Director, Department of Agriculture, Punjab was the Guest of Honour. The other dignitaries present at the occasion were Sh. Ajay Chaudhary Mangupur; Sh. Prem Chand Bhima, District President Congress; and Sh. Jasbir Singh, SDM Balachaur. The function was presided over by Dr. J S Mahal, Director Extension, PAU.
In his welcome address, Dr. Gurmeet Singh Buttar, Additional Director of Extension Education, PAU greeted the gathering of enthusiastic farmers and farm women; while highlighting the need for such Melas that not only ensure a regular interaction between agricultural scientists and farmers, but also direct the scientists towards the premises of the future. He also urged the farmers to take advantage of the excellent outreach programmes of the university through its Kisan Melas, and diligently follow the recommendations regularly issued by the PAU. He also urged them to keep themselves abreast of the latest farming techniques. While discussing the theme of the Mela, he sensitized the farmers and agriculture enthusiasts about the benefits of food processing which include preservation of food products, alleviation of food shortage and transformation of agricultural produce into varieties of food products. He encouraged the farmers to buy more farm-related literature so as to update their knowledge regarding the recent trends in agriculture.
Dr. PPS Pannu, Additional Director Research, shared the research highlights of PAU for Kharif crops. He also mentioned the current problems being faced by the agricultural scientists of the contemporary times. There is a dire need to generate varieties that can stand the constraints of climate change, water shortage, and can at the same time be resistant to diseases. He also exhorted that PAU has re-oriented its research programmes towards sustainable agriculture to meet these multiple challenges of climate change, nutritional security and stress challenge. He urged upon the importance of protected cultivation, value-addition and food processing while reiterating the commitment of the university to promote production-protection technologies to stem agrarian distress. He insisted upon the farmers to visit demonstration sites of food packaging machines and apprise themselves with the latest techniques for safe and longer shelf life of agricultural products, thus enhancing their marketing potential.
In his address, Dr. Sutantar Kumar Airi, while expressing concern over water shortage in the Kandi region, asserted that the farming practices must be adopted keeping the specific needs of the Kandi region. The health of the soil along with a stringent check on the wastage of resources must be done while investigating the agriculture-related requirements of the region. He further asserted that the medicinal plants so widely prevalent in the region should also be explored as a potential source of income. He pertinently mentioned the importance of good health for the farming community. He, also, advised the farmers to seek university’s technical expertise regarding agriculture and its allied occupations.
In his presidential address, Dr. J S Mahal, Director of Extension Education, Punjab Agricultural University, divulged the details of various outreach programmes initiated by the university. The initiatives like Kheti Sandesh- the university’s digital weekly newspaper, Changi Kheti and Progressive Farming- monthly magazines, Kisan App and the Farmers’ Portal are readily available on the PAU website. He also shared the university’s toll-free number with the audience for an instant connect with the scientists.
While interacting with the farm community, the Chief Guest of the Day, Sh. Kulwant Singh Ahluwalia stressed upon the need to reduce the cost on the inputs and focus more on the marketability of the produce. He pertinently stressed that while focusing on the increase in the production, farmers of Punjab should also ascertain a more profit-induced agriculture. For this, the intervention of middle-men needs to be reassessed and a more chiseled marketing plan needs to be adopted. Being a progressive farmer, himself, Sh. Kulwant Singh Ahluwalia divulged the practical problems faced by the modern-day farmers; while insisting upon the need for farming community to collectively find solutions that are based on profitability, sustainability and environment-friendly.
Live demonstrations, display of planting material and farm literature was presented for the information of the farmers. A technical session to interact with the farmers was also conducted by the savvy experts of the university. The session highlighted the role of farm machinery in agriculture; improved crop production technology for Kharif crops; integrated insect-pest and disease management in Rabi and Kharif crops; cultivation of summer and rainy season vegetables; scope of agro-horticulture and agro-forestry in Kandi area; development of FPOs; agro-processing unit; facilities in incubation centre for value-addition; while also providing tips for soil health management and judicious use of fertilizers.
A cultural bonanza was also organized to enthrall the robust gathering of famers and farm women. The students of Gursewa College of Nursing, Garshankar, also, performed a scintillating giddha performance.
Dr. Manmohanjit Singh, Director, Regional Research Station, Ballowal Saunkhri proposed the vote of thanks. During the mela, as many as 84 stalls were put up by various departments of PAU and other organizations. A huge influx of farmers was seen at the seed sale centre of this station.