PAU’s free plant clinic offers balm for farmers’ crop woes
To save crops from various diseases and other natural calamities, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has been providing free service to farmers since 1992 at its plant clinic located on campus.
The concerned scientists said every farmer before sowing any crop must first get it inspected from the clinic and if they felt that certain crops were not maturing well, they must get samples for express advice and precautions to save the crop.
“We call it a plant clinic since we advise farmers on how to save crops, vegetables and fruits from
dying. Farmers not only come from Punjab but also from neighbouring states such as Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan and are given scientific solutions for their problems,” said Raghbir Singh Uppal, a scientist from agronomy department.
He further added, “Although, we get about 15,000 farmers a year, we want more farmers to visit us as each year there are many cases from various pockets of Punjab where farmers suffer a low yield. Low yield can be due to reasons such as infertile soil, excessive use of pesticides and fertilisers, natural diseases, etc. However, if reasons are known early, better results can be obtained and save a lot of effort and time.”
SK Thind, a plant pathology scientist and the one who heads the clinic under the directorate of extension HS Dhaliwal said scientists went and visited farms in case farmers wanted them to. Farmers were also free to contact PAU anytime including weekends regarding their queries, he added.
He added, “This facility has also given PAU the perfect platform to build a connection with farmers. Many other issues related to farming are also addressed here. In the year 1999, the same concept was appreciated and followed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) at about 45 centres across the country. Experts feel such platforms must be encouraged in.”
Dhaliwal said PAU wants to popularise the plant clinic service as much as possible so that each year yield and productivity remained high.
“Prevention is always better than cure. Farmers can directly consult the state university and the 17 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVK) located across Punjab. Like humans and animals, clinical care for plants is equally vital.”
Talking to the students at PAU, they scientists such services must be pushed as much as possible and the agricultural department of the state must make efforts to spread the availability of such services to every farmer.