Ludhiana, March 1, 2012
“To meet the challenges of 21st century and to feed billion plus population with only 2.3 per cent of global land resources and about 4.2 per cent of water resources, food security has to be at the core of the agriculture development agenda,” emphasized Mr P.K. Basu, Secretary (Agriculture and Cooperation), Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, New Delhi, while delivering his convocation address at the “Convocation and Prize Distribution function” of the College of Agriculture of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), here today.
Mr Basu said that the future of agriculture is going to be science-based. Only science will guide to produce more from the limited land resources. The agriculture of tomorrow will be greatly influenced by the developments of biotechnology and nanotechnology. He divulged, “Due to the availability and adoption of high yielding crop varieties, inputs and farm machinery, the key ingredients of the “green revolution,” the production of food grains has increased from 82 million tones in 1960-61 to 250 million tones in 2011-12.” But the tough task of food and nutritional security still needs to be addressed, he added. The PAU has played a pivotal role in making Punjab a nationally dominant agricultural state, which is rightly recognized as the “Food Bowl of India,” he highlighted.
Expressing concern that the water table has gone down to more than 10 meters in 97 per cent of the cultivated area of the Punjab, reaching critical levels and endangering sustained agricultural production, he said that the enactment of “Sub-soil Water Preservation Act,” which bars transplanting of paddy before June 10, is a right step to check the excessive drawal of groundwater resources. Climate change is the emerging threat to sustainable agriculture, he noted, saying that the promotion of resource conservation technologies well-supported by precision farming operations like laser land leveler and tensiometer, developed by the PAU, can help the farmers to minimize the impact of climate change.
Many policy initiatives are being taken by the governments at the State and Central level to accelerate growth in agriculture sector. The year 2012 has been declared as the year of “Horticulture,” told Mr Basu, adding that focus will be on setting up of series of the State of the Art facilities that would facilitate year round production and efficient post-harvest handling. He exhorted the students to dedicate their energies and skills to meet the agriculture challenges and offer scientific, practical and economically viable solutions to them.
Presiding over the function, Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, PAU Vice-Chancellor, awarded a total of 266 degrees in B.Sc Agriculture (Hons.), 13 B.Ed, 41 Merit Certificates, seven Gold Medals/medals and 16 prizes (for academic excellence) to the students passed out during the years 2008-11. The students Ramanpreet Kaur and Rajdeep Singh Khangura clinched University Gold Medals, Academic Roll of Honour, ASPEE Medal and Dr Ram Dhan Singh Medal for securing highest overall credit point average and first position in B.Sc Agriculture (Hons.) for the year 2009 and 2010, respectively.
Earlier, the Dean, College of Agriculture, Dr D.S. Cheema, presenting the convocation report, said that the PAU has always been in the forefront in rubbing its shoulders with the global universities. The college has remained responsive to the various changes in agricultural scenario at national and international level. The college alumni have brought laurels by winning prestigious national/international awards and 35 of them have been elevated to the position of Vice-Chancellor of various State Agricultural Universities.
He told that the infrastructure including modern state of the art laboratories, field laboratories, live crop museums, etc., is being upgraded for imparting practical training to the students for tackling upcoming agriculture and environment issues. The faculty is also being encouraged to keep pace with global scientific developments through participation in international symposia/workshops/trainings/exchange programmes. Dr Cheema motivated the students to “Learn to live and serve” and attain new heights in life.
Present on the occasion were former PAU Vice-Chancellors Dr S.S. Johl and Dr M.S. Kang; Members of PAU Board of Management - Dr M.S. Sandhu, Director of Agriculture, Punjab; S. Jang Bahadur Singh Sangha and Ms Urwinder K. Grewal and the international scientist Dr B.S. Ahluwalia.
(Source: PAU, Ludhiana)