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'Need to adopt hybrid varieties to meet growing food demand'

HT Correspondent  Ludhiana, March 16, 2013
First Published: 18:13 IST(16/3/2013) | Last Updated: 18:14 IST(16/3/2013)

The two-day Kisan Mela concluded on the campus of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) here on Saturday.

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Speaking at the concluding ceremony, agriculture commissioner JS Sandhu said the country required 300 million tonnes of food grain by 2030.  “This target cannot be achieved alone with the cultivation of traditional crop varieties,” he said pointing out that there was a need to develop and adopt hybrid varieties for this purpose.

“There was record production of wheat last year and Punjab was the biggest contributor. At present, India nearly 5-million tonnes of wheat,” he said while emphasising on the quality maintenance of wheat in terms of pesticide residue.

“As wheat-rice production has picked up in other states, there is a dire need for crop diversification and maize is an important alternative crop,” Sandhu added.

PAU farm literature, brought out by the Centre for communication and international linkages, was an attraction for farmers during the two-day fair.

PAU vice-chancellor Baldev Singh Dhillon said he was concerned about the depleting groundwater in Punjab.

 “Without water, there will be no future for the next generation,” he said while urging farmers to adopt water-saving technologies such as drip irrigation and laser land leveller. Advising farmers against the use of non-recommended crop varieties and agro-chemicals, Dhillon asked them to contact PAU experts instead. “Also, you should read university farm literature regularly,” he said.

Italian Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers Federation general secretary Marco Pezzini, meanwhile, announced Italian farm machinery as a gift to PAU for research and education.

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