LUDHIANA: The 7th National Conference on “Krishi Vigyan Kendra -2012,” jointly organized by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), commenced here today amidst eminent agricultural stalwarts, farmers and delegates from different parts of the country. The conference is based on the theme “Integrating Technologies and Best Practices.”
Exhorting the KVK scientists to develop technology which minimizes the use of farm inputs and maximizes farm output, Sharad Pawar, Union Minister of Agriculture and Food Processing Industries, noted that the state government’s approach towards farm diversification is positive. Referring to foreign direct investment (FDI), he said that farmers as well as consumers will be the real beneficiaries.
Inaugurating the three-day conference, Sharad Pawar, said that Punjab, in general, and PAU, in particular, deserves all appreciation for making substantial contribution of wheat and rice to the central food grain bowl.
Pawar saluted the farming community for toiling hard to ensure national food security and for the record food grain production of 257 million tonnes in 2011-12, highest since 1947. Inspite of drought in certain areas and districts of the states like Gujarat, Rajasthan and Punjab, the food grain production is estimated to touch 250 million tonnes in 2012-13, said Pawar.
Observing that the demand for fruits and vegetables is going to surge with the rising income and changing dietary habits among people, he stressed on speeding up the efforts to develop climate resilient crop varieties. “There is a need to re-set research and extension system to strengthen feedback mechanism and interaction between farmers and scientists,” said Pawar.
The Central Government is planning to increase food grain storage capacity in the country and that nearly 40 lakh tonnes of storage capacity would be created in Punjab soon, he revealed. In recognition of its outstanding contribution to wheat production, the Punjab state was chosen for the set-up of institute in the memory of Norman E. Borlaug, Father of Green Revolution, to cater to the needs of South Asia region, added he.
In his presidential remarks, Dr Charan Das Mahant, Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries, said that KVKs have become the backbone of main extension mechanism, being run by the state governments. Divulging that the crop loss from farmer’s field is estimated to be about Rs 45,000 crore, he impressed upon the KVKs to equip the farmers with technical knowledge pertaining to value addition and food processing.
Dr Mahant congratulated PAU for 50 years of establishment and hailed the role it played in heralding of green revolution and in evolvement of more than 700 varieties/hybrids of different crops.
In his opening remarks, Dr S. Ayyappan, Secretary, Department of Agriculture Research and Education (DARE); and Director General, ICAR, said that KVK is an institutional innovation, playing a vital role through assessment, refinement and demonstration of various agri-technologies and farming practices in farmers’ fields. Expressing concern over decreasing interest of rural youth in farming, he emphasized that farm innovations are essential in this regard.
Under the 12th Plan, the thrust is on “Secondary Agriculture,” he said, adding that the experts seek to address farm innovations, value addition and processing. Stating that quality assurance and food security are becoming important, Dr Ayyappan remarked that the application of demand driven appropriate farm technologies and their integration in different farming situations is crucial for increasing agricultural productivity.
Welcoming the dignitaries, delegates and participants, Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, highlighted that KVKs play a key role in bridging the gap between the farmers and the scientists in terms of knowledge. Observing, “We have moved from food dependence to food substantiality,” he said that KVKs are making praiseworthy contributions to Indian agriculture and their entire system has expanded under the stewardship of Pawar. The conference will provide an excellent opportunity for the interaction between scientists and farmers, enabling the flow of technology from lab to land, added Dr Dhillon, saying that the useful plans and strategies will give push to agriculture.
Presenting an overview of the national conference, Dr K.D. Kokate, Deputy Director General (Agricultural Extension), ICAR, said that State Agricultural Universities (SAUs), ICAR institutions, NGOs and KVKs are deeply involved in developing extension models and methodologies to reach farthest and interior areas of the country. Presently, 630 KVKs are functional in the country, out of which 341 have been established in the last eight years, he told. Emphasizing on productivity along with sustainability, Dr Kokate said that the experience shared by experts and farmers during conference will enhance the efficiency of KVKs in integrating technologies for solving farmers’ problems.
Dr A.M. Narula, Zonal Project Director, Zone-I (ICAR), PAU campus, Ludhiana, proposed the vote of thanks.
A grand exhibition and innovative market place, showcasing various agri-technologies, put by the state agricultural universities, self-help groups, ICAR institutes and KVKs of different states, were a big attraction.
During the conference, two women namely Krishna Yadav of New Delhi and Karamjit Kaur of Punjab were conferred with “Champion Female Farmer Award” for excellence in agriculture. On this occasion, the certificates for the Best KVK Awards (National and Zonal) 2011 were distributed. KVK, Babhaleshwar (Maharashtra), won the National KVK Award 2011. KVK Kaithal (Zone-I), KVK Nimpith (Zone-II), KVK Divyodaya (West Tripura - Zone-III), KVK Saharanpur (Zone-IV), KVK Durgapur (Amravati- Zone-V), KVK Anta (Baran-Zone-VI), KVK Jhabua (Zone-VII) and KVK, Khozikode (Zone-VIII) bagged certificates for Best Performing KVKs.
Sharad Pawar and Dr Charan Das Mahant were honoured on this occasion. The dignitaries also released a set of publications.