A number of farmers from the state, who have been attending Punjab Agricultural University’s (PAU) ‘Kisan Mela’ over the last several years, feel the varsity seems to be more bothered about promoting agricultural machinery rather than coming up with innovative ways to help farmers.
Talking to HT on the final day of ‘Kisan Mela’, many farmers pointed out that if one objectively observes the exhibition zones, one would note that majority of the space has been given to agricultural machinery. They also added that with each passing year, more and more space was being given to them in a bid to boost spirits of the ‘corporate sector’.
“It seems more like a fair of ‘agricultural machinery’ and less as a fair where farmers can enhance their knowledge. Everywhere we look, we see hoardings of the latest tractors and various other products of different brands all belonging to a price range which is out of reach for most farmers. However, most shocking is the fact that when agricultural machinery is already in excess among Punjab farmers then what is the point of promoting it?” questioned Bathinda-based farmers, Harpreet Singh, Baljeet Singh and Manjeet Singh.
Germandeep Singh, a young farmer from the Jalandhar district said, “Go to any village in Punjab and you will see that most farmers are inundated with all kinds of agricultural machinery. In fact, these machines are also shared among farmers. Such exhibitions do nothing but lure farmers into buying newer brands, which only burdens them more.”
Kamaldeep Singh and Surjeet Singh, both farmers from Patiala and Ludhiana respectively, suggested, “PAU should find ways to discourage farmers for spending excessively on agri-machinery. We feel that after providng machinery brands with so much space, PAU must be charging them heavily too. They should at least use this money to develop the varsity’s infrastructure. During every visit, it is pathetic to note the state of campus, especially the roads.”
Experts comment on excess
Several agricultural experts too have pointed out that agricultural machinery is in excess among Punjab farmers and state department of agriculture along with PAU needs to find ways to curb its sale as it has ended up burdening farmers. They also opine that the state government should stop giving subsidies on machinery as it encourages farmers to go on buying and suggested that a culture of sharing agricultural machinery should be fostered.
Many experts, on the condition of anonymity, revealed that Punjab Agriculture’s statistics of 2012-13 revealed high numbers of different kind of agri machinery.
Farmers also feel PAU’s Kisan Melas have become very monotonous due to which many farmers have lost interest. “Why can’t they take feedback from all villages?”, many wonder.