Ludhiana, November 14, 2014: A two-day XXIII meeting of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Regional Committee V, comprising the states of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi, began at the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) today. The meet, jointly organized by PAU and Central Soil Salinity Research Institute, Karnal commenced under the Chairmanship of Dr S. Ayyappan, Secretary, Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE), Government of India, and Director General, ICAR, New Delhi.
Dr KML Pathak, Deputy Director General (Animal Science), ICAR, is the Nodal Officer while Dr DK Sharma, Director, Central Soil Salinity Research Institute, Karnal is the member Secretary of the meet. Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice-Chancellor, PAU delivered his welcome address on the occasion.
About 125 senior officers including agricultural secretaries of the states, Vice-Chancellors of agricultural/veterinary universities, Deputy and Assistant Director Generals, Directors of different institutes, Heads of Regional Stations of ICAR Institute, non-governmental agencies, and progressive farmers participated in the inaugural session.
The Chairman, Dr S.Ayyappan emphasized on moving from Green Revolution to Evergreen Revolution. “The food basket states of Punjab and Haryana, with only 2.9 per cent of nation’s geographical area, contribute more than one-fifth of country’s food grain production including 20% rice and 30% wheat,” he disclosed. Stressing the need to take up research on farm issues, Dr Ayyappan said that focus should be on crop diversification; climate change issues; quality seed production of different crops; and development of resource conservation technologies, and innovative nutrient and water management practices. Besides, thrust should be on rainwater harvesting; sub-surface drainage; bio-drainage; food quality and safety; development of salinity tolerant varieties; and improvement in livestock and fishery sectors, he said. Further, he expressed concern over paddy straw burning, ground water issues, pesticide residues, and power generation in contemporary agriculture. Voicing concern over soil health degradation, he suggested that farmers should be provided with soil health cards. Dr Ayyappan called upon the farm experts to give a new paradigm shift to all the Kirshi Vigyan Kendras through cyber extension, and lay special thrust on more farm productivity and profitability.
Giving a brief introduction of the meet, Dr Pathak said that this Committee acts as an effective interface between research and developmental organisations of the region. Besides, he said that the problems of increasing input costs, declining water table, contamination of groundwater due to imbalanced use of fertilizers, increasing soil salinity/alkalinity, and heavy metals toxicity in groundwater are a matter of serious concern. He pointed out that meeting the food requirements of 2025 in view of the challenges of climate change and decreasing profits is going to be a tough task. In addition, he also highlighted the major breakthroughs, made by NDRI, in the field of cloning.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Dr Dhillon said, “Population is increasing and resources are decreasing.” To meet the future agrarian challenges, especially, of climate variability, close linkages and scientific interactions among state departments, ICAR and state agricultural universities are essential, he added.
Dr Sharma, while proposing the vote of thanks, said that recommendations emerging out of this meet will go a long way in improving the livelihood of the farmers. He presented the action taken report of the recommendations made during the last meet, held at Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi in December 2012.
On the occasion, Dr Ayyappan honoured Dr B.S. Dhillon, PAU VC and Dr V.K. Taneja, Vice-Chancellor, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Ludhiana. Besides, several progressive farmers from various states were also honoured. The farmers shared their experiences in the field of agriculture and allied activities.
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Friday, November 14, 2014