Treading with a farmer- centric approach, Chaudhary Sarwan Kumar Himachal Pradesh Agricultural University (HPAU) has come out with a noble initiative to reserve the front rows for the farmers in all its major programmes.
According to an official communication issued by the office of the vice-chancellor, all associate directors of research stations, scientist in charges of research sub-stations and programme coordinators of farm science centres (Krishi Vigyan Kendras) have been directed to reserve seats for progressive farmers in the front rows during various agricultural-oriented programmes held in their stations concerned.
Besides, the progressive farmers will get preferential treatment in agricultural officers' workshop, kisan mela and kisan divas at the directorate of extension education and all four constituent colleges. Some seats in the front rows will also be reserved for progressive farmers here also.
After assuming the office of vice-chancellor last month, Dr KK Katoch had declared during his maiden address that the major clients of the university would be given preference in all programmes organised by the institution.
All extension programmes to disseminate new scientific farm technology are conducted by the directorate of extension education and eight krishi vigyan kendras.
Similarly, 13 research stations all over the state will conduct location specific, need-based research and organise trainings and other programmes for the farming community in their respective areas.
Some specialised trainings are conducted by various departments of the four constituent colleges, apart from the kisan mela and farm officers' workshops in both rabi and kharif seasons.
This is perhaps the first approach among all state agricultural universities in the country, where farmers will be sharing front rows with policy makers, planners, senior officers and senior scientists.
Meanwhile, Katoch said the university's “Farmers first” approach would not merely be symbolic, but he would make certain that progressive farmers were respectfully brought to attend major programmes in the university by scientists and extension staff.
“Likewise, we are taking steps to make their stay comfortable on the university's main campus and all krishi vigyan kendras by improving facilities,” said Katoch.
He added that the university was also contemplating to find ways to reserve some seats for the wards of farming families in BSc (agriculture).
“Children from rural areas are most of the time at a disadvantage due to lack of quality education, poor financial condition and lack of guidance,” Katoch said, adding that the farmlands would ultimately be managed by the farmers, therefore their younger generation should get a chance to study modern farming.