PAU Virtual Kisan Mela: Event ends with tips to farmers on water-saving tech, allied occupations
Punjab Agricultural University’s first virtual Kisan Mela concluded on Saturday with an overall participation of over 2 lakh farmers and farm women.
Vice-chancellor Baldev Singh Dhillon thanked the farmers and farm women for their massive participation in the Kisan Mela, which was organised virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
On Day 2, Dhillon again urged farmers not to burn paddy straw and adopt straw management technologies for environmental protection.
Saturday saw three panel discussions, which were showcased via http://www.kisanmela.pau.edu/.
In the panel discussion on “Water-Saving Technologies”, SS Kukal, dean, College of Agriculture; GS Mangat, head, department of plant breeding and genetics; OP Choudhary, head, department of soil science; KG Singh, head, department of soil and water engineering; Ajmer Brar, senior agronomist; Rajan Aggarwal, principal scientist from PAU; Dr Rajesh Vashisht, joint director, agriculture, and Gurpreet Singh Aulakh, sub-divisional soil conservation officer, were the panel experts.
Rakesh Sharda, principal scientist, extension (soil and water engineering), was the moderator of the discussion. A farmer, Hardeep Singh from Patran in Sangrur, also shared his experience with other farmers.
During the discussion, the experts advised farmers to grow water-saving varieties of paddy recommended by PAU and also adopt water-saving technologies. Expressing concern over the declining groundwater table and its poor quality, they urged farmers to refrain from cultivating PUSA-44 as it required more water and stick to paddy transplanting time as recommended by the Punjab government.
The area under direct seeded rice (DSR), which was a water-saving technology, had increased to 5 lakh hectares in Punjab, they disclosed.
The experts advocated the use of drip irrigation system, which was water as well as labour-saving. Regarding subsidies, they said 80% subsidy was being provided by the state government on drip irrigation, 90% to small farmers and 60% on solar pumps. Underground pipeline system, which saves 30 to 40% of water, was also being promoted in south and central Punjab, they said.
The second panel discussion on “Livestock Production and Allied Occupations” stressed on the adoption of subsidiary occupations like poultry, dairy and fish farming, etc., along with agriculture.
Scientists from Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University were the panel experts.
In the last panel discussion on “Voice of Farmers,” AS Dhindsa, a flower and vegetable seed producer known for exporting seed to 100 countries; KBS Sidhu, an innovative farmer known for export of fresh vegetables; and progressive farmers Devinder Singh Mukshabad, Mohinder Singh Dosanjh, Jagtar Singh Brar and Balwinder Singh Tikka shared their experiences with other farmers.
They stressed on making agriculture a precision agriculture linked with marketing, maintaining farm records and urged youth not to avoid farming.
AS Dhatt, additional director of research (horticulture) and Kamal Vatta, head, department of economics and sociology, PAU, were the moderators of the discussion.
TS Riar, additional director communication, said on a whole, the mela was a big success. Old memories of previous Kisan Melas were revived and songs on paddy straw management was another highlight of the mela, he added.
Jaskarn Singh Mahal, director of extension education, PAU, said the virtual Kisan Mela will be made a permanent feature, along with the traditional mela.
“The seeds of all varieties will be ready within a week and farmers can contact their nearby Krishi Vigyan Kendras or get information on Farm Inputs App for purchase,” he said.