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February 24, 2024 4:09 am

Dooji Punjab Sarkar-Kisan Milni: a hit with farmers

The Fact News Service
Ludhiana, May 12

Swarms of farmers, farm women and rural youths thronged the campus of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) to attend the Dooji (second) Punjab Sarkar-Kisan Milni and NRI Farmers’ Conclave: Experience Exchange for Punjab Farmers’ Welfare here today. The milni aimed at bailing out the farming community from the economic distress by looking into their key agriculture related issues, providing solutions for the same under one roof, receiving necessary feedback and preparing roadmap for the future growth. The chief guest Sardar Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal, Minister for Agriculture and NRI Affairs, Punjab; and the guest of honour Sardar Laljit Singh Bhullar, Minister for Animal Husbandry, Punjab, personally visited all the Salah-Mashwara stalls, where farmers queued up to seek solutions to their field problems concerning the cultivation of wheat, paddy, basmati, maize, cotton, sugarcane, oilseeds, pulses, millets and forage, fruits, vegetables, flowers, aromatic and medicinal plants; organic farming; water and soil health management; insect-pest and disease management in various crops; farm machinery; agro-processing and value addition; and animal husbandry (dairy, poultry, piggery and fishery). Both the ministers were accompanied by PAU Vice-Chancellor Dr Satbir Singh Gosal and Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University Vice-Chancellor Dr Inderjeet Singh.

Dhaliwal lauded the state farmers for their herculean labour to fill the granaries of the nation’s food kitty. “The Punjab farmers and the PAU have always put their heads together and their unique unison stands out in the country,” he remarked. Stating that 72 per cent of Punjab’s population was engaged in agriculture and allied fields, he expressed deep concern over the non-availability of fruitful agricultural policy during the previous years, which had resulted in dip in farmers’ pockets. Contemporarily, the surfeit of water, fertilizers’ and agro-chemicals’ use has raised serious concerns, he observed, while making a call for sowing basmati and PR 126 of rice as a solution to aggravating water crisis and for profitability. The State government under the directions of the Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Bhagwant Mann has provided a subsidy on cotton seed this year for better yield, given instructions for the release of canal water to every field and household, and is strictly checking the use of spurious pesticides, he added. Lauding the surface seeding technology of PAU which has reported no emergence of gulli danda and was a revolutionary technique for crop residue management, the Minister urged the farmers to say no to straw burning by adopting this technology. In addition, he announced the formation of the Directorate of Agricultural Engineering under the Punjab government for the promotion of farm mechanization and crop diversification. The Minister also advocated diversifying cropping pattern by  sowing maize, cotton, sugarcane, pulses (like summer moong), fruits and vegetables. He appealed to the farmers to follow PAU recommendations for quality production and send a message on WhatsApp if any crop relief was pending. Sardar Dhaliwal expressed his gratitude to the NRI farmers and called for their support in the drafting of profitable agricultural policy.

Laljit Singh Bhullar disclosed that the State government was serious in checking the exodus of youth from Punjab and making all-out efforts in promoting animal husbandry for doubling farm income. Pointing out the use of chemicals in milk for the production of synthetic milk, he urged the dairy farmers to stop this illegal practice and take special care of future generation. The Minister also hailed the Punjab government’s decision of the organization of milni to address the farmers’ issues.

 In his welcome remarks, Dr Satbir Singh Gosal, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, said that PAU and Punjab farmers have collectively struck several bad patches in agriculture and brought home the celebration with their tenacity and resolute will. Dr Gosal hailed the participation of the sea of Punjab farmers in the milni and appreciated the State government for involving the participation of NRI farmers in giving a boost to agriculture and allied occupations.

On the occasion, a coffee table book entitled “Farmers-Scientists’ Evergreen Bond: PAU’s Colossal Feat” was released by both the ministers. The book has been brought out, specifically for the farmers of Punjab, in English and Punjabi languages under the patronship of PAU VC Dr Gosal and Advisor Dr TS Riar, Additional Director Communication. Ms Sheetal Chawla, Assistant Director (Publications), is the Editor of the book, while Dr (Mrs) Kulvir Kaur, Assistant Professor, Home Science, is a Punjabi writer. Pics have been contributed by Dr AP Singh, SK Rode, SK Maulajee, Krishan Adeeb and Harpreet Singh.

Besides, a book entitled “Roots of Prosperity: The Incredible Saga of Punjabi Farmers in Foreign Lands,” authored by Dr Sheetal Thapar, Professor of Journalism; Dr Narinder Pal Singh, Professor of Punjabi; Dr Vishal Bector, Associate Director of  Institutional Relations and Dr Ashoo Toor, Assistant Professor, English, was also released at the milni.

During the meet, 14 innovative farmers and agricultural scientists from Australia, Canada, USA, Tanzania and Zambia were felicitated for making a mark in the international arena.

Dr GS Buttar, Director of Extension Education, proposed a vote of thanks, while Dr Riar conducted the programme.

Thousands of farmers comprising progressive farmers, members of clubs/associations and agri-entrepreneurs associated with subsidiary occupations as well as farm women from self-help groups and cooperative societies participated in the milni enthusiastically. Present on the occasion were Chairman of Punjab State Farmers and Farm Workers’ Commission Dr Sukhpal Singh, Director of State’s Agriculture Dr Gurwinder Singh, Chairman of PUNSEED Sardar MS Sidhu and members of Board of Management, PAU.

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