The two-day Kisan Mela of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) concluded on Saturday with farmers pointing out “lack of facilities and creativity” at the fest.
The farmers hailing from various pockets of the state, who have been visiting here for the last several years, shared with HT, “The university authorities do not seem to make this mela different from the last couple of years, as a result it proves highly monotonous for the farmers. PAU experts often tell us that they are open to feedback but the ground reality is different as they function the way they want, leaving little room for farmers’ satisfaction.”
“We have suggested most often that along with students, experts should be present at the stalls but in most cases, experts are absent and students are not able to suggest us the right methods for our various agricultural concerns,” they added.
The farmers said every time the models and charts displayed at the exhibition are same and the farmers are helped with a sluggish approach.
They rued improper toilet facility, unhygienic food options, haphazard parking, traffic snarls on the campus roads, among others.
Baljinder Singh, an elderly farmer, who came from Mansa district, said, “I have personally suggested to many PAU experts that there must be proper facilities as farmers come from far off places but it seems all suggestions fall on deaf ears.”
Many stalls were also vacant this time as many agricultural technology and machine manufacturers had boycotted owing to the “poor” facilities.
On the concluding day, AK Singh, deputy director general, agriculture extension, from Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) was the chief guest. In his address, he encouraged the farmers to push themselves towards much needed crop diversification and save natural resources. PAU V-C BS Dhillon echoed a similar view.
Dhillon expressed concern over disturbance in weather conditions, shrinking land holdings and increasing input costs. He suggested the farmers using farm inputs as per need.
Meanwhile, Punjab agriculture and NRI affairs minister Tota Singh announced `1 crore on Friday for PAU to uplift the mela grounds.
Farmers including women were awarded with certificates and mementos for excelling in the agricultural sector.