Punjab Government Cabinet Minister for Finance, Planning and Excise Harpal Singh Cheema encouraged farmers to attend Kisan Melas while inaugurating the Kisan Mela at Krishi Vigyan Kendra Rauni, Patiala on Sunday, saying: “The Kisan Melas will be Organized by Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has a wealth of knowledge, so every farmer must attend these melas and bring at least one new farmer to experience and apply the technologies recommended by the university,” he noted
Cheema applauded the large rush of farmers observed at the mela and urged them to trust the Krishi Vigyan kendras who work tirelessly to promote new varieties, techniques and machinery for the greater benefit of the agricultural brotherhood.
“Punjabi farmers will lead the shift towards sustainable agriculture”
“With the rapidly falling water table and soil pollution in the state, there is an urgent need to replace the traditional rice-wheat farming pattern with diversified crops specifically targeting soil and water conservation,” he said, adding that the people of Punjab do so are doing exemplary as they welcome the change seen in the past elections and now Punjab farmers would lead the change towards sustainable agriculture.
Guest of honor Balbir Singh, MLA, Patiala rural, called for every farming model recommended by PAU to be brought to farmers’ fields. “Prosperous farmers are the backbone of prosperous Punjab,” Singh said, while stressing the need for a library in every village. He urged farmers to subscribe to the agricultural publications published by the university, with particular reference to the Changi Kheti monthly. The MLA fought over a promise to avoid stubble burning in the upcoming rice harvest.
Focus on climate resilient agriculture
Recalling the establishment of KVK Rauni in 1995 and the organization of Kisan Melas since then, PAU Vice-Chancellor Satbir Singh Gosal drew attention to climate-resilient agriculture in the face of ongoing agricultural problems as a result of depletion of groundwater, deterioration of soil health and burn stubble. “The constant burning of the stubble year after year has snuffed out the nutrients in the soil,” Gosal said.
He also warned against overuse of urea in the fields, making the crops more susceptible to disease and pests, along with greater risk now that the urea has leaked into the state’s drinking water. Gosal pointed to the concept of kitchen gardening by all farmers, which would not only reduce household expenses but also improve the health of the whole family. “We are blessed to have the best soil in the world and it is our duty to replenish it,” Gosal said, while advising farmers to exercise caution when marketing Basmati exports, where excess moisture and grain breakage contribute result in the entire shipment being rejected by the countries.
Highlighting PAU’s research achievements, Additional Research Director PPS Pannu announced that wheat varieties PBW 826, PBW 833 and PBW 872 have been selected for national release. He urged farmers to adopt the varieties and technologies recommended by the university and said preserving natural resources for future generations through appropriate use is the need of the hour. The university has so far developed more than 900 strains, 225 of which have been approved nationally, he added.
Ashok Kumar, Director of Education, thanked Guest of Honor, Sakshi Sawhney, IAS, and Deputy Commissioner, Patiala, for giving personal attention to all farmers’ programs and visiting the KVK to facilitate operations.
He emphasized the implementation of the Mela theme – Kisani jawani te paun paani bachaiye, aao rangla Punjab banaiye – by introducing environmentally friendly agricultural practices, curbing frivolous spending and paying attention to health. He advised farmers to connect with PAU via ICT tools like WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube and agricultural literature.
On this occasion, MS Kang, former PAU Vice-Chancellor, Allah Rang, former PAU Professor of Plant Breeding and Genetics were awarded the honorary award for their contribution to agriculture and related fields.
A long line of farmers and youth buying improved seeds, vegetable kits, planting material, organic fertilizer and agricultural publications could be seen at the mela. Live demonstrations (cultivars and agricultural machinery) and technical sessions were the main highlights of the mela.