LUDHIANA, 5 October, 2011
A three-member delegation from Australian High Commission visited Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) today and held a meeting with the Deans of the constituent colleges of the varsity, Additional Directors, Coordinators of Research and Heads of various departments. Dr D.S. Cheema, Dean, College of Agriculture, PAU, presided over the meeting.
The delegation members comprising Sarah Hooper, Counselor (Political), Chris King, First Secretary (Trade and Economics) and Maxine Loynd, Senior Analyst, said that their visit to PAU has been designed to explore opportunities for exchanging agricultural technologies and to have perspective of Indian agriculture.
S. Hooper, lauding the contribution of PAU to the nations’ food kitty, said “As more than 60% of Indian population is dependent of agriculture for the livelihood, we want to acquaint the Australian Government with the understanding of Punjab, in particular, and Indian, in general, with prime focus on challenges and priorities in Punjab agriculture.” She also highlighted, “Australia produces wheat for the whole world.”
C. King and M. Loynd said that their visit aims at studying economic and political priorities in Punjab, impact of the Punjab economy on India and how the agriculture sector is evolving. Besides, the other emphasis is on studying the environmental concerns, modern farming and latest technologies in the field of agriculture and its allied sectors.
Speaking on this occasion, Dr Cheema highlighted that with the industriousness of PAU scientists, Punjab, today, is contributing 60% wheat, 40% rice, 50% mushroom, 25% honey and 10% cotton to the central pool. He familiarised the delegation with three major components of the university which include research, teaching and extension. Stating that the farming community has taken innovative steps in the farm sector as designed by the university, Dr Cheema told the visiting delegation that farmers maintain regular contact with PAU experts who keep on guiding them from time to time about new innovative techniques and technologies. He also referred to the various collaborative projects that PAU has with Australia.
Dr Neelam Grewal ( Dean, Home Science-cum-Additional Director Communication, Dr PPS Lubana (Dean, Agricultural Engineering and Technology) and Dr R.S. Sidhu (Dean, Basic Sciences and Humanities) dwelt upon the agrarian issues, problems in ground water recourses with thrust on their technological solutions, contract farming and other aspects of agriculture. Earlier, Dr Grewal, welcoming the delegation, briefed them about the training programmes organised by PAU for the farmers, farm women and the rural youth.
The Additional Directors of Research and Extension Education Drs T.S. Thind and H.S. Dhaliwal, explained the delegation about the diseases affecting the wheat crop and the functioning of Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) and Farm Advisory Service Scheme (FASS) in Punjab.
The heads of various department of PAU apprised the delegation of management practices in crop and horticulture production and yield, irrigation technology and surface/ground water management process for enhanced water management, services and solutions for farm soil improvement, bio-fertilisers/pesticides, post-harvest infrastructure and management technology and services, vocational education and training in food processing and technology. The delegation also visited School of Agricultural Biotechnology.