Agriculture minister Sujan Singh Pathania on Friday exhorted the agrarian community to adopt latest farm technology to enhance farm production.
He was addressing farmers, farm officers, scientists and students after inaugurating agri fest (Krishi Mahautsav-2013) organised at Chaudhary Sarwan Kumar Himachal Pradesh Agricultural University (HPAU), Palampur.
The minister said after the implementation of the National Food Security Act, it was imperative to produce more foodgrains and the farmers were facing multiple challenges such as decreasing land holdings, increasing cost of farm inputs and problem of wild and stray animals. “Scientists and farm officers should come forward to help the farming community in this crucial time,” said Pathania.
Expressing concern over the low prices farmers get for their produce, Pathania suggested that the rate of farm produce should be linked with the general price index.
He said the state government had initiated many schemes for the farmers such as “Chief Minister Model Agriculture Village” scheme and the farmers should come forward to take advantage of such schemes.
“The state is spending 12% of the total plan outlay on agriculture which is the highest in the country,” said Pathania, further informing that there was an income of Rs 3,000 crore from vegetable production which was even higher than income from apple produce.
Pathania sanctioned a grant of Rs 10,000 to the agro-club, which has organised the two-day festival and also visited an exhibition showcasing modern farm technology and appreciated the efforts of students.
Vice-chancellor, HPAU, Dr KK Katoch while elaborating about teaching, research and extension education activities, highlighted the rush for admissions to limited number of seats in BSc agriculture and added that the university was proposing to open two new agricultural colleges in Kullu and Sirmaur districts. He also assured that his university would make all-out efforts to transfer technology to the farmers' fields.
Dr BS Dhillon, vice-chancellor, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, as a guest of honour appreciated the efforts of the university in allowing the students to learn organisational skills and enhancing communication with farmers through the fest.
He said the farmers conducted many experiments and have more practical knowledge which was of immense use to the scientists. He also advocated close cooperation between CSKHPAU and PAU.