Chief guest Baldev Singh Dhillon, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) vice-chancellor, while inaugurating the ‘Research and Extension Specialists’ workshop for Rabi crops in the university on Tuesday said that balanced fertilisation and promotion of resource conservation technologies were vital for agriculture sustainability.
The officers from Punjab department of agriculture, directors of PAU regional stations, district extension specialists, deputy/ associate directors (training) from Krishi Vigyan Kendras and university experts will be participating in the two-day workshop.
Dhillon advocated integrated farming system for the small farmers in view of declining farm profits.
He emphasised on creating awakening amongst the farmers on judicious use of water and agro-chemicals.
The vice chancellor added, “Taking small steps in diversifying the cropping pattern can lead to crop diversification.” He laid stress on marketing of basmati and expressed concern over the burning of paddy straw, and growing incidence of yellow rust and Karnal bunt diseases of wheat.
Dhillon also highlighted the growing interest of the farmers in subsidiary occupations like beekeeping, mushroom cultivation and dairy farming.
Punjab director of agriculture Mangal Singh Sandhu said a target of 34.56 lakh hectare area under wheat had been set for the year.
Impressing upon the farm experts to pay attention to food processing sector, he suggested setting-up of industry for value addition of farm produce. Sandhu also stressed on the development of heat tolerant varieties in view of global warming.
He asked the scientists to promote water saving technologies in spring maize, develop agronomics practices for cane harvesting, and study the use of leaf colour chart from variety to variety.
The director of agriculture said the direct seeded rice technology had picked up in Punjab and a lot of work had been done for eradication of Congress grass.
He said the PAU and state department of agriculture had been taking university developed technologies to the fields and would continue to work collectively in future as well.
SS Gosal, director of research, said that PAU’s research was focusing on the issues of depletion of underground water, micro-nutrient deficiencies, paddy straw management, crop diversification and climate change. Besides, value addition, protected cultivation, bio-energy, farm mechanisation, mushroom growing and beekeeping were other key areas.
He also shed light on the characteristics of newly developed varieties which were subject to approval by state variety approval committee. Earlier, welcoming the dignitaries and the participants, HS Dhaliwal, director of extension education, said that major challenge in contemporary agriculture was farm profitability and sustainability.