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“In the wake of the ongoing farmers’ protests at the Punjab borders, there is an urgent need for the experts of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) to study the pros and cons of the MSP (Minimum Support Price) Guarantee Law, to clear the air amid the divergent views creeping in,” urged Dr RK Raheja, Cane Commissioner, Punjab. He was speaking at the inauguration of the Research and Extension Specialists’ Workshop for Kharif Crops at PAU today.

At the workshop, Dr Satbir Singh Gosal, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, was the chief guest. Organised by the Directorate of Extension Education, the inaugural session of the workshop was attended by the officials of the State Department of Agriculture, Associate/Deputy Directors of Krishi Vigyan Kendras and Regional Research Stations, district extension specialists, senior officials, faculty and extension scientists of PAU.

22.02.2024 Sharing the targets, production and the problems of Kharif crops, Dr Raheja congratulated the scientists for the record 205 lakh metric tonnes of paddy production in the state during 2023-24 despite torrential rains. Hailing PAU developed PBW 826 of wheat and PR 126 of rice as “bumper varieties,” he stressed upon enhancing the area under Direct Seeded Rice (DSR) that was more well-liked in Haryana than in Punjab, adoption of maize for diversification, seed production and varietal development of sugarcane, and marketing of value added products via Zomato and Swiggy.

Earlier, in his inaugural address, Dr Gosal called for growing cotton, oilseeds, pulses, fruits and vegetables for agricultural diversity as well as adopting drip irrigation in the light of receding water level in Punjab. “Promote non-genetically modified gobhi sarson canola variety ‘00’ for extraction of sarson oil; Integrated Pest Management for reduction in pesticide use; biopesticides and trichogramma for insect-pest and disease management in diverse crops; Integrated Nutrient Management and biofertilizers for soil health improvement; and agri-business alongwith agriculture for acquiring double benefits,” he told the scientists. Disclosing that the PR 126 of rice touched 6 lakh acres of area last year, Dr Gosal emphasised on popularizing DSR, avoiding the use of banned pesticides on basmati, and discouraging water-guzzling summer moong for water conservation.

Dr AS Dhatt, Director of Research, while referring to the research accomplishments of PAU, highlighted the salient features of the newly developed varieties comprising Pusa Basmati 1847 of basmati, J 1008 of fodder maize, PCB 167 of bajra and Punjab China 1 of proso millet that were yet to be approved by the State Varietal Approval Committee. Sharing production-protection technologies, Dr Dhatt informed about the development of high protein soy powder and extruded millet-based snacks (pasta, porridge, cookies, cake, muffins, bread, rassgachakpinni, roti, pranatha, panjiri, flakes, etc.) among food processing as well as remote-based Paddy Transplanted and UAV-based drone for spraying among farm mechanization.

Dr MS Bhullar, Director of Extension Education, while welcoming the dignitaries and the participants, said that the workshop was a two-way process of suggesting solutions and receiving feedback related to crop diversification and crop residue management.

Dr CS Aulakh, Dean, College of Agriculture, proposed a vote of thanks, while Dr Kuldeep Singh, Head, Department of Extension Education, coordinated the programme. The first day saw technical sessions on rice, cotton, oilseeds, forages and minor millets. Besides, an exhibition, highlighting the newly recommended crop varieties and technologies, was put up on the occasion.

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