The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) campus was swarming with farmers and farm women on the second day of Kisan Mela today. Inquisitive farmers visited stalls and saw live demonstrations, interacted with PAU scientists, participated in question-answer session, and purchased PAU farm literature and improved seed.
Dr Sujay Rakshit, Director, ICAR- Indian Institute of Maize Research, Ludhiana, who was the chief guest, said, “Punjab is feeding the whole country but at the same time, it needs to adopt water saving and straw management technologies.” Crop diversification is vital for Punjab, he said, while suggesting maize crop as a viable option for diversification. Lauding the launching of PAU Kisan App, he urged the farmers to avail the benefit through this App.
In his presidential remark, Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, expressed concern over water issues, stubble burning and bad debts. Appealing to the farmers to think about next generation, he said, “Don’t wait for others to start. Every work demands effort be it urea application, irrigation or spray application. Adopt the technologies devised specifically for the benefit of the farmers.” Profitability is much more important than yield, he observed, while asking the farmers to make judicious use of farm inputs and maintain farm record. Dr Dhillon also advised the farmers to adopt kitchen garden model for growing vegetables, pulses and oilseeds for domestic consumption. He hailed the participation of a group of women entrepreneurs from Karnal, Haryana.
Dr Navtej Singh Bains, Director of Research, underlined the need for maintaining seed quality, saving environment and enhancing production. He also highlighted the production and protection technologies for various crops including the development of sub-surface drip irrigation technology.
Dr J.S. Mahal, Director of Extension Education, while delivering his welcome address, said the newly launched PAU Kisan App will serve the farmers in best ways in terms of providing district wise information regarding seed availability, weather, newly released crop varieties, production-protection technologies, farm literature, etc. He also informed the farmers about the toll free number 1800-180-5100, where they can give a missed call to get themselves registered with PAU.
Dr Jagdish Kaur, Additional Director Communication, apprised the farmers of PAU farm publications, audio and video CDs, and availability of University on social media. She said for the first time, the University has published a small Package of Practices in Hindi language for the benefit of the farmers of adjoining states. Further, she disclosed, “More than 1,000 farmers have downloaded the PAU Kisan App on their android phones since its launch on September 20, 2018.”
Dr D.S. Bhatti, Additional Director of Extension Education, proposed the vote of thanks.
On the occasion, five progressive farmers were honoured for excellence in agriculture and allied occupations. S. Bir Dalwinder Singh of village Kalar Majari, district Patiala, and S. Gurpreet Singh of village Patti Sadeek, tehsil Abohar, district Fazilka, were awarded "S. Dalip Singh Dhaliwal Memorial Award 2018" while S. Narpinder Singh of village Chuharchak, district Moga, was conferred with "S. Surjit Singh Dhillon Award 2018." S. Harinder Singh Riar of village Bhamri, district Gurdaspur, was honoured with "Parvasi Bharti Award 2018" while Smt Rajinder Kaur of village Chatta Nanhera, tehsil Sunam, district Sangrur, was awarded "State Awardee Sardarni Jagbir Kaur Memorial Award 2018."
Four outstanding scientists of PAU, namely, Dr J.S. Brar, Dr Abhishek Sharma, Dr A.S. Brar and Dr A.S. Sandhu were rewarded for their contribution to fruit science, vegetable science, whitefly management in cotton and development of water saving technologies, respectively. S. Amrik Singh, Block Agriculture Officer, Pathankot, was also felicitated for his contribution to agriculture.
A play on paddy straw management, enacted by PAU students, was highly praised by the farmers and farm women. Later, the participating students were awarded certificates.
During the mela, the chief guest gave away prizes to the winners of various competitions. Dr Dhillon honoured the chief guest with a shawl and memento. A group of women entrepreneurs from Karnal felicitated the PAU Vice-Chancellor Dr Dhillon.