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PAU Hosts Two-Day Farmers' Fair to Promote Sustainable Farming & Livestock Management

A two-day farmers' fair, called Kisan Mela, began on Friday at the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) campus in Ludhiana, despite being disrupted by rain for a few hours.

Shivangi Rai
PAU said that around 60,000 farmers watched the fair online. The theme was ‘Reduce farm expenditure by making optimal use of water and fertilisers'.
PAU said that around 60,000 farmers watched the fair online. The theme was ‘Reduce farm expenditure by making optimal use of water and fertilisers'.

The Pashu Palan Mela, for dairy farmers, also commenced at the same time on the Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) campus.

The PAU reported that about 60,000 farmers also participated in the fair online, with the theme being "Reduce farm expenditure by making optimal use of water and fertilizers."

Dr. Bikram Gill, a well-known wheat breeder from Kansas State University, USA, was the chief guest at the PAU fair. He spoke about his past experiences as the son of a farmer and praised the institution's remarkable contribution to the nation's food buffer. Dr. Gill urged farmers to encourage their children to pursue agricultural education and cautioned against excessive water usage, which could lead to water insecurity in the next 15 years. He also urged farmers to be responsible with water usage and preserve essential resources such as land, water, sunlight, air, and germplasm.

Dr. Satbir Singh Gosal, PAU Vice-Chancellor, encouraged farmers to adopt crop diversification, increase the area under basmati and cotton, avoid sowing summer moong where cotton is being planted, and use pesticides judiciously to avoid consignment rejection. He also advocated for in-situ paddy straw management, drip irrigation in spring maize, and the use of solar energy. Dr. Gosal informed farmers that the state government was hiring matriculate youth as Kisan Mitra (friends of farmers) in more than 12,000 villages in Punjab to assist farmers. These Kisan Mitras will be trained by PAU and given essential agricultural knowledge.

Dr. G S Buttar, Director of Extension Education, raised concerns about the pressing challenges of climate change and groundwater depletion. He mentioned that out of 150 blocks, 115 blocks have been declared as dark zones. He recommended paddy transplantation after June 20 and the adoption of early maturing, less water-requiring 'PR' varieties such as PR 126 of paddy.

Dr. Sukhpal Singh, chairman of the Punjab State Farmers and Farm Workers Commission, expressed concern over the increasing number of farm suicides in Punjab compared to other states. Dr. Inderjeet Singh, GADVASU Vice-Chancellor, mentioned that the Pashu Palan mela was organized with the theme of eco-friendly livestock farming.

The university displayed excellent germplasm of cows, buffaloes, goats, and poultry to livestock farmers. Experts gave talks on livestock, poultry, and fish farming and demonstrated various aspects of these farming practices. Models of integrated livestock farming for enhancing the profitability of farmers and their impact on the environment were also exhibited. Additionally, live demonstrations on various aspects of farming, along with the sales of milk-testing kits, Mastitis Diagnosis kits, teat-dip practices, and acaricide drug application, were shown to farmers.

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