Ludhiana, February 21, 2013: A 27-member delegation of California Agriculture Leadership Foundation (CALF) USA; visited the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) today to explore potential areas for collaboration, share farm experiences and learn about agricultural business, economics, education, research, and transfer of technology.
The delegation, comprising of farm experts and emerging agriculturists, was lead by Dr Charles Boyer, Dean, College of Agriculture, California State University, USA; and accompanied by Karmdeep Bains, fourth generation progressive farmer, California. During their interaction with the senior officials, heads and faculty of various departments of the University, the delegates discussed about water treatment system, crop improvement technologies, and cold storage facilities.
The group of PAU experts included Dr D.S. Cheema, Dean, College of Agriculture; Dr R.S. Sidhu, Dean, College of Basic Sciences and Humanities; Dr H.S. Dhaliwal, Additional Director of Extension Education; Dr P.K. Khanna, Additional Director of Research (Food Science, Nutrition and Engineering); Dr H.S. Sehgal, Additional Director of Communication; Dr U.S. Sadana, Head, Department of Soil Science; Dr K.G. Singh, Soil and Water Engineering Expert; Dr P.P. Sahota, Prof. of Microbiology, Dr Ashok Kumar, Head, Department of Processing and Food Engineering; and Dr Ramandeep S. Jassal, Deputy Director (Public Relations).
Dr Michael Thomas, Director of Education, CALF, said that the California Agriculture Leadership Programme provides an advanced leadership development experience to emerging agri-leaders, who will be effective advocates for issues facing agriculture, communities, state and the nation.
Dr Robert Flores, Professor of Agricultural Education, California Polytechnic State University, USA; divulged that nearly 70,000 students at secondary level and about 10,000 students at undergraduate level are pursuing education in agriculture in California. The major focus in on producing and preparing agriculturists for the future, he told.
K. Bains said that they seek to enter into cooperative venture with the PAU to develop joint farm technologies in any aspect of agriculture. With agri-advancements in California, there are a lot of opportunities for partnership between the two sides for direct transfer of technology, he stated.
Earlier, welcoming the delegation, Dr Sehgal apprised the members of organizational set-up and the achievements of the PAU. He said that this University is one of the leading institutions of the country, which has served and made remarkable contributions to the nation’s food kitty.
Dr Sidhu and Dr Cheema explained the visiting delegation about the academic programmes of PAU, extension mechanism, funding for research programmes, contract farming, and agricultural marketing.
Dr Dhaliwal said that PAU has a strong transfer of technology mechanism which comprises 17 Krishi Vigyan Kendras and 12 Farm Advisory Service Scheme in various parts of Punjab. The University imparts trainings and on the spot guidance to the farmers, organises Kisan Melas, and conducts on-farm trails, and field demonstrations for the benefit of the framing community, he told.
Dr Sadana and Dr K. Singh informed the delegates that there is a problem of declining water table in central Punjab and rising water table in south-western parts of Punjab. The excessive use of agro-chemicals has also resulted into the poor quality of water. The experts highlighted that the PAU has developed a multiple well-point technology to pump the under groundwater for irrigation purpose.
Dr A. Kumar said that with the coming-up of multi-national companies and advancements in agri-technologies, good cold storage facilities are available for the farmers, wherein they bring their fresh produce and pay nominal price for the storage facility.
Dr Sahota explained about portable water.
Dr Jassal shed light on the agro-business of the state and highlighted the role of farm women in agriculture. The delegation also visited the Museum of Rural Life and Social History of Punjab at PAU and the farms of Devinder Singh at Mushkabad, to acquaint themselves with the protected cultivation of vegetables.