PUNJAB AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITY
52ND ANNUAL MEET OF PEARL MILLET IMPROVEMENT PROJECT BEGINS AT PAU
NEED TO INCREASE AREA UNDER PEARL MILLET: DDG (ICAR)
LUDHIANA, APRIL 28:
The three-day “52nd Annual Group Meet of All India Coordinated Pearl Millet Improvement Project” began at the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) today. The meet has been jointly organized by the Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, PAU and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi. About 200 scientists, involved in pearl millet research, from across different state agricultural universities, ICAR institutions and private sector attended the inaugural session of the meet.
Inaugurating the meet, the Chief Guest, Dr J.S. Sandhu, Deputy Director General (Crop Sciences), ICAR, New Delhi, said 1960s were the turning point in the history of Indian agriculture. Pearl millet was one of the important crops of that time and PAU had the distinction of developing first pearl millet hybrid HB 1 in the world. He further observed “Pearl millet is important as food and fodder, and can be grown in arid and semi-arid regions. At present, the area under this crop is 7.48 million hectares and its productivity is 1.27 tonnes/hectare.” There is a record production of all crops but not of this crop, he pointed out, saying that there has been no increase in area under this crop during the last few years. As pearl millet is free from insect problem, there is a scope for its productivity enhancement, said Dr Sandhu, adding that there is a need to reorient the research.
The guest of honour, Dr Balraj Singh Choudhary, Vice-Chancellor, Agriculture University, Jodhpur, said pearl millet is going to become an important crop in future. There are some grey areas like precision farming, hybrid seed production and production enhancement which require focus of the experts, he added. In Rajasthan, this crop is being cultivated on a large scale, he told. There is a further need to promote cultivation of pearl millet and its hybrid seed production in other parts of the country, he stressed.
On the occasion, Dr R.L. Kapoor, an eminent bajra breeder, shared his memories and highly praised Dr D.S. Athwal, one of the stalwarts of Green Revolution, for his tremendous contribution to agricultural development. It is worth mentioning that Dr Kapoor has made significant contribution to pearl millet and developed one of the best varieties of this crop.
Dr C. Tara Satyavathi, Project Coordinator (Pearl Millet), AICRP-PM, Jodhpur, presented the research highlights of 2016-17. She said, “Pearl millet is mainly a kharif crop and a staple food of small land holders.” Despite its advantages, this crop is considered as inferior due to lack of awareness regarding its nutritional traits, she observed. To increase its consumption, its demand needs to be enhanced, she suggested.
Earlier, Dr Ashok Kumar, Director of Research, PAU, welcomed the dignitaries and the delegates. He said, “Pearl millet is a cheapest source of iron and zinc. It is gluten free and good for patients suffering from celiac disease.” This crop is grown as fodder and fodder production is next to sorghum, he added. Different types of products can be developed from this crop, he said.
Dr H.S. Dhaliwal, Dean, College of Agriculture, proposed the vote of thanks.
On the occasion, Dr Athwal and Dr Kapoor were honoured for their outstanding contributions to agriculture. Besides, the dignitaries released the souvenir, newsletter, electronic version of progress report and other publications.
Dr Sumedha Bhandari, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural Journalism, Languages and Culture, conducted the programme.
In the technical session II, research results were reviewed and progress report of AICRP-PM 2016-17 was presented by Principal Investigators. In the technical session III, the meeting of varietal identification committee was held. In the technical session IV, panel discussed the thrust areas of research in pearl millet with emphasis on “Enhancement of Production and Productivity in A1 Zone.” All the three sessions were chaired by Dr J. S. Sandhu.
In the technical session V, progress report of ICAR-ICRISAT collaborative projects 2016-17 was discussed in addition planning of work for 2017-18.
Caption for Pic aicrp5:-Dr J.S. Sandhu, Deputy Director General (Crop Sciences), ICAR, releasing a publication at the 52ndAnnual Group Meet of All India Coordinated Pearl Millet Improvement Project at PAU.
Caption for pic aicrp 12:- Dr J.S. Sandhu, Deputy Director General (Crop Sciences), ICAR, speaking at the inauguration of the 52ndAnnual Group Meet of All India Coordinated Pearl Millet Improvement Project at PAU.