Researchers and farmers in India create markets for environmental goods
A two-day “Golden Jubilee Kisan Mela” of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) kicked off here today amidst the mammoth gathering of the farmers from across the state. The theme of the mela is “Pawan Guru Pani Pita, Mata Dharat Mahatt (Conservation of air, water and soil health).”
Inaugurating the mela, the chief guest Dr G.S. Kalkat, Chairman, Punjab State Farmers’ Commission, expressed concern over the depleting underground water table in Punjab. Stating that the situation can worsen if not paid immediate attention, he called upon the farmers to sow crops other than paddy to check the water depletion. He advised the farmers to make use of PAU developed technologies such as Laser Land Leveler for leveling the field and Happy Seeder for judicious use of resources. Dr Kalkat emphasised on paying attention to the plight of small farmers in view of their decreasing per capita income. Voicing concern over the increasing consumption of drugs and alcohol among the rural youths and farmers’ suicide due to increasing indebtedness, Dr Kalkat urged the gathering to refrain from superfluous expenditure and develop a sense of social responsibility. The PAU has been serving Punjab and its agriculture since inception, said he, highlighting that with the combined efforts of the farmers and scientists, Punjab emerged as a leading state in heralding the green revolution in India. He also advised the farmers to impart good education to their wards for the bright and prosperous future.
In his presidential remarks, Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, noted that unmindful of the consequences, farmers are making excessive use of fetilisers and water. Their use should be made as per need, he stressed. The farmers should take advantage of the university evolved technologies such as tensiometer (irrigation scheduling) and leaf colour chart (need-based nitrogen application,) for the conservation of natural resources and to get better yield in view of the rising population. The PAU has developed two new varieties of paddy including RYT 3129 and RYT 3240, which are being experimented at the farmers’ fields. Referring to the “Daisy Tangerine Propagation Plan,” Dr Dhillon said that it is a new mandarin hybrid, budded on Carrizo root-stock. It has shown good performance and the multiplication of root-stock through tissue culture has also been planned. “To promote kinnow cultivation in the state, university has produced 70,000 nursery plants this year. The target for next year is one lakh plants,” he disclosed. New strategies are required for the effective transfer of technology to the farmers. There is a strong need to curb the menace of social evils eating into the vitals of the society, he emphasized.
Dr S.S. Gosal, Director of Research, PAU, highlighting the research activities, said that the university has developed 705 varieties of different crops/hybrids till date. As the environment is changing, the PAU is revamping its research programmes for the benefit of the farmers. He divulged that the university has developed many new varieties of various crops which include “Ankur 3028 BG” of American cotton, “Kalipatti and Cricket Ball” of sapota and “Balwant, Neelum and Kanchan” of amla. At present the focus is one the oilseed crops, told Dr Gosal, informing that the university has prepared a new design of poly- house known as “poly-net.” He also dwelt upon the various production and plant protection technologies and urged the farmers to make use of recommended varieties.
Earlier, Dr M.S. Gill, Director of Extension Education, PAU, welcomed the dignitaries and the farmers. He said that the mela provides platform to the farmers to apprise themselves of the new technologies, buy new seeds of various crops and discuss their farm problems with the PAU experts. He also advised them to take timely technical guidance from the scientists of the KVKs and Farm Advisory Service Scheme (FASS).
Dr H.S. Dhaliwal, Additional Director of Extension Education, PAU, proposed the vote of thanks.
Dr Dhillon honoured Dr Kalkat with a memento and a shawl. Dr Kalkat also saw the field demonstrations of various crops and visited the stalls, put up by the different departments of the PAU and other organizations. The seeds of paddy varieties PR-114, PR-118 and maize variety J-1006 were in great demand. Six thousand vegetable kits were also sold.