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The vibrant two-day PAU Kisan Mela on 15.03.2024 , themed ‘Kheti Naal Saahaaik Dhanda, Parivaar Sukhi Munafa Changa,’ concluded today, resonating with the spirit of agricultural innovation and entrepreneurship. World Food Prize Winner Dr Gurdev Singh Khush, the day’s Chief Guest and other esteemed speakers reiterated the significance of agricultural diversification and value addition to enhance farmers’ income and ensure sustainable farming practices.

The event witnessed an engaging farmer-scientist interface aimed at fostering entrepreneurial skills and augmenting family earnings through both on-farm and off-farm ventures. Farmers enthusiastically availed themselves of quality seeds, planting materials, farm literature, processed products, and apparel while participating in live field demonstrations and exploring agro-industrial exhibitions.

Dr Khush underscored a comprehensive strategy for rejuvenating the agricultural landscape, emphasizing the imperative of diversifying crops and enhancing value addition. He emphasized the conservation of water resources, judicious input usage, and the urgent need for straw management, advocating for PAU’s innovative interventions to mitigate straw burning. Urging farmers to break away from the rice-wheat cycle, Dr Khush highlighted the potential of pulses, oilseeds, and livestock products to bolster farmers’ incomes and reduce import dependency. He commended PAU’s pivotal role in revolutionizing agriculture. He outlined ongoing research initiatives spanning tissue culture, speed breeding, climate-resistant crop varieties, and the integration of AI in farming practices.

The guest of Honour, Dr Sukhpal Singh, Chairman of the Punjab State Farmers’ and Farm Workers’ Commission, addressed farmers’ persistent challenges despite the state’s global leadership in grain production. He pledged to introduce a sustainable agricultural policy focused on diversification and cooperative development, ensuring equitable returns for farmers.

In his presidential address, PAU Vice Chancellor Dr Satbir Singh Gosal encouraged farmers to embark on an entrepreneurial journey alongside traditional agriculture on lines similar to those of their farmer brethren in developed countries, promoting holistic socio-economic empowerment. He expressed gratitude for the overwhelming response to the Kisan Mela, underscoring farmers’ enduring trust in PAU’s guidance and recommendations.

The event also welcomed students from Yale University, USA, under Professor Anthony’s leadership, acknowledging the global resonance of PAU’s initiatives in agricultural development. Deans, Directors, officers, and PAU faculty members also graced the event.

Outstanding farmers were recognized for their exemplary contributions, alongside the distribution of prizes and certificates to scientists and extension functionaries for their efforts in disseminating agricultural knowledge.

The occasion culminated with a vote of thanks by Dr GPS Sodhi, Additional Director of Extension Education, highlighting the importance of agriculture as a profession and a way of life. A colorful cultural programme, featuring a giddha performance by school students from Jagraon, advocating for civic participation, added to the festivities. Additional Director of Communication, Dr Tejinder Singh Riar, coordinated the programme.

A coffee table book titled ‘Skilling Young and Old Punjab: PAU’s Colossal Feat’ brought out by the joint efforts of Food Technologist Dr Poonam Sachdev and Ms Sheetal Chawla, Assistant Director Publications, was also unveiled. Dr Tejinder Singh Riar, under whose guidance the book has been published, said that the book showcases PAU’s monumental efforts and achievements in agricultural diversification and entrepreneurship.

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