Forced by the pandemic, the first-ever Virtual Kisan Mela of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) concluded Saturday with more than 2 lakh farmers and farmhands attending it virtually.
Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, while thanking the farmers for their participation in the Virtual Mela, said, “There is a lot to learn from the farmers.”
He advised them not to burn paddy straw and adopt straw management technologies for environmental protection. He concluded his remarks with: “Nanak Naam Chardi Kala Tere Bhane Sarbat Da Bhala.”
Dr 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 informed.
On the second day, three panel discussions were held. In the panel discussion on “Water Saving Technologies,”, the experts advised the farmers to grow ‘real water saving’ varieties of paddy recommended by PAU and adopt water saving technologies. They expressed concern over the declining water table and poor quality of groundwater. They urged the farmers to refrain from cultivating Pusa 44 as it requires more water, stick to paddy transplanting time as recommended by the Punjab government and save water. The area under direct seeded rice (DSR), which is a water saving technology, has increased to 5 lakh hectares in Punjab, they said. Experts also advocated the use of the drip irrigation system, which is water as well as labour saving. They informed that 80 per cent subsidy was being provided by the state government on drip irrigation, 90 per cent (on drip irrigation) to small farmers and 60 per cent subsidy was being given on solar pumps. Underground pipeline system, which saves 30 to 40 per cent 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,” progressive farmers AS Dhindsa, a renowned flower and vegetable seed producer known for exporting seed to 100 countries; KBS Sidhu, known for export of fresh vegetables; Devinder Singh Mukshabad, Mohinder Singh Dosanjh, Jagtar Singh Brar and Balwinder Singh Tikka, shared their experiences.
Dr TS Riar, Additional Director Communication, said the mela was a big success.
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