A two-member delegation from The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), New Delhi, visited Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) on Monday to discuss organic farming, sustainable farm practices and other different aspects of agriculture.
The delegation comprised Dr Shilpanjali Deshpande Sarma, fellow, green growth and development division, TERI, and Dr Manjushree Banerjee, associate fellow, social transformation, TERI.
The ministry of agriculture (department of agriculture and cooperation) is implementing organic farming through various schemes, including national project on organic farming. In this context, TERI, New Delhi, along with National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies, have been entrusted with study on “Policy and Institutional Support for Organic Agriculture: Enabling Pathways for Inclusive and Sustainable Development.”
The delegation visited the Punjab, in general, and PAU, in particular, as part of this study, and interacted with senior officials, heads and faculty members of various departments of the university.
JS Dhiman, additional director of research (natural resource and plant health management), said PAU had made vital contributions to agriculture and allied sectors.
“We have developed a number of crop varieties along with their matching production and protection technologies,” he highlighted, adding that the development of technologies to rationalise the use of pesticides was one of the priority areas of PAU's research.
Dhiman said the focus was also on enhancing farm productivity, farmers' profitability, natural resource conservation and promotion of eco-friendly technologies.
AS Dhatt, senior advisor agriculture, Sir Ratan Tata Trust, told the delegation about various research projects with thrust on integrated pest management (IPM) in cotton and other crops.
Informing that they had covered nearly 900 villages in the state under IPM cotton, he said Fazilka, Ferozepur, Moga, Mansa, Bathinda, Sangrur, Fardikot and Patiala were the major cotton growing areas of Punjab.
The farmers were making excessive use of pesticides in basmati, he pointed out, saying that they were focusing on educating the farmers about its judicious use.
Stating that Punjab was the “Bread Basket of India” and PAU had made tremendous contribution to it, delegation member Dr Sarma said their visit to the university was aimed at acquiring knowledge about organic farming in Punjab, and studying how sustainable agri-practices could be promoted in the state.
She said in its 12th five-year plan, the central government was coming up with bio-villages, adding that integrated model was being adopted.