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In a momentous Press Conference convened at the Punjab Agricultural University today, Dr. Satbir Singh Gosal, Vice-Chancellor, delineated an ambitious roadmap for 2024 while reflecting on the University’s remarkable achievements in 2023. The event, graced by an extensive media presence and key university officials, showcased a strategic vision poised to reshape agricultural paradigms and fortify Punjab’s agricultural prowess.

Dr. Gosal commenced by extending gratitude for the collective endeavors that defined the preceding year, underscoring pivotal initiatives that left an indelible mark. Noteworthy among these were the impactful Clean and Green PAU Campus Drive, the momentous Sarkar-Kisan Milnis facilitating the formulation of the state’s agricultural policy, and the NRI Farmers’ Conclave aimed at unlocking the success blueprints of non-resident Indian farmers.

The Vice-Chancellor reflected on significant milestones including the establishment of the Dr. Khush Institute and Museum and hosting India’s maiden Congress of the International Association of Agricultural Museums. He accentuated the university’s research breakthroughs, diverse outreach programs, academic triumphs, and pivotal administrative decisions. Dr. Gosal specifically hailed the popularization of the heat-tolerant wheat variety PBW 826 and the short-duration rice variety PR 126. Delving deeper into agricultural advancements, Dr. Gosal expounded on trait-specific varieties, notably highlighting the wheat variety PBW RS1 containing high amylose resistant starch that ensures regulated glucose levels upon consumption.

In a significant revelation, Dr. Gosal spotlighted the pioneering strides in biofortification, elucidating PAU’s research endeavors to augment zinc concentration in wheat grains through varieties like PBW 1 Zn and PBW Zinc 2. Similarly, through marker-assisted selection and rigorous biochemical testing, a wheat variety PBW 1 Chapati was developed that fulfills the chapati-making parameters, ensuring a delectable and nutritious culinary experience for consumers. These breakthroughs, aligned with local dietary preferences, align with the university’s commitment to community-centric agricultural research.

The Vice-Chancellor briefed about a cutting-edge speed breeding facility being established at PAU which is poised to revolutionize crop generation cycles, compress development timelines, and accelerate agricultural innovation. Such initiatives would further galvanize research in the university, he added. He also touched upon the establishment of Internal Quality Assurance Cell and Tulip Garden during the last year.

Laying the groundwork for PAU’s vision in 2024, Dr. Gosal underscored the plan of establishing of a Technology Park for Smart Farming, demonstrating technologies like sensor-based automated irrigation, thermal imaging to detect biotic and abiotic stresses in crops, sensor-based soil testing for different properties, automated weather station, drone applications in agronomic operations, machine learning-based decision support system and much more. In addition, the university will strive for the augmentation of agro-processing capacities. He emphasized the core ethos encapsulated by the ‘P’ factor – Progression, Pioneer spirit, Partnership, Public Service, Policy Engagement, and Professional Development – as the guiding principles embodying PAU’s essence.

Dr. Gosal described the University’s resolute focus on climate-resilient crops, gene editing, conservation agriculture, and innovative farm mechanization as pivotal pillars for future agricultural transformation. Additionally, he reiterated PAU’s dedication to nurturing the next generation of agricultural leaders and fostering farmer welfare, food security, and holistic rural development.

Expressing heartfelt gratitude, Dr. Gosal acknowledged the unwavering support of the State Government and the trust bestowed upon the university by farmers, underscoring their pivotal role in PAU’s journey towards agricultural excellence.

As the curtains drew on the conference, the ambitious vision outlined by Dr. Satbir Singh Gosal unveiled a promising trajectory for PAU, poised to chart new frontiers in sustainable agriculture, technological innovation, and societal impact in 2024.

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