February 23, 2012 admin


LUDHIANA, FEBRUARY 23: A two-day “Research and Extension Specialists’ Workshop for Kharif Crops,” organized by the Directorate of Extension Education of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), began here today. Joint Directors, Chief Agricultural Officers and Agricultural Officers from State Agricultural Departments, Directors of Regional Research Stations of PAU, Deputy Directors of Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) and Farm Advisory Service Scheme (FASS), PAU Deans, Directors, senior officers and faculty of various departments are participating in the workshop.
Inaugurating the workshop, the chief guest Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, PAU Vice-Chancellor, said that there is a very strong relationship between the farmers and the university scientists. Calling it a two-way process, he said that the new developments, innovations and feedback from the farmers help the PAU in re-orienting the research programmes. “The growth in foodgrain production in Punjab in 1960s was 9.45 per cent whereas in 2000s, it has declined to 1.17 per cent,” disclosed Dr Dhillon. Calling upon the farmers to stick to cotton cultivation, he stressed on maintaining the quality of basmati for export or domestic market, judicious use of pesticides and weedicides and doing away with the Pusa 44 variety of paddy.  There is a need to promote direct seeded rice, happy seeder technology and to motivate rural youth to embrace agriculture as their profession. Besides, the issues of climate change and paddy straw burning also demand attention of the experts, he added.  Kharif season is full of challenges, he said adding that scientists should convert these into opportunities through developing need based technologies and their efficient transfer to the farmers and other stakeholders.
The Director of Agriculture, Punjab, Dr Mangal Singh Sandhu, shed light on the targets and production problems of kharif crops in the state. Nursery raising of paddy, rain tolerant varieties of pulses, new varieties of oil seed crops and promotion of hybrid varieties of cotton, agro-forestry and use of paddy transplanter are some of the key areas of focus. Dr Sandhu urged the scientists to lay emphasis on guara as it can fetch good returns to the farmers. He advised the farmers to bring more area under sugarcane for income enhancement. Calling for the second green revolution, he said that agriculture could not succeed without the participation of women. Voicing concern over the excessive use of pesticides and fertilizers, Dr Sandhu remarked that farmers need to be educated about the minimum use of pesticides. “I want to see Punjab as pesticide free zone in coming years,” he added.  Dr. Sandhu said that the need-based farm literature produced by PAU will be spread in each district so that farmers are able to succeed in scientific farming.
Speaking on the salient finding in research for kharif crops, Dr S.S. Gosal, Director of Research, PAU, said, “Keeping in view the environmental concerns, national food requirements and changing agricultural scenario, the university is giving a new direction to its research programmes.” He also delved on various production and plant protection technologies developed and emphasized on the conservation of natural resources.  Dr. Gosal shared the new recommendations on sunflower, American cotton and highlighted the new production and protection technologies, including groundnut, toria and gobhi sarson based cropping.  He appealed to the participating extension specialists to emphasize on conservation of natural resources.
Earlier, welcoming the dignitaries and the participants, Dr D.S. Cheema, Dean, College of Agriculture, said that this is the first workshop of Golden Jubilee year of the PAU. Referring to the PAU as “Grain bowl of India,” he added that partnerships and team work are required to combat the agricultural challenges and for diversification in farm sector.
Dr M.S. Gill, Director of Extension Education, proposing vote of thanks, said that to bring back agriculture on track, it is essential to have close interaction on various issues such as cost-effective agriculture, conservation of natural resources, recycling of crop residue with the use of happy seeder, climate change and effective steps for agri-diversification. He asked the participants to connect with PAU publications regularly and play a joint role for sustainability in agri-sector.
Two technical sessions, on “Package of practices for rice and cotton crops” and “Pulses,” were held today and chaired by Dr Sandhu. An exhibition, put up by various departments of the PAU, highlighted varieties of basmati and paddy, new recommendations for inclusion in package of practices, iron deficiency in rice, symptoms and management of foot- rot in rice and other aspects of agriculture.

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