Country looks forward to Punjab for coming up as a role model in agricultural diversification–Narender Singh Tomar

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Ludhiana, November 15:  VIR PARKASH,ARUN JAIN

The Union Minister, Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Mr Narender Singh Tomar today laid the foundation stone of the administrative building-cum-laboratory of the ICAR-Indian Institute of Maize Research (IIMR) at Ladhowal (district Ludhiana) today.

Mr Narender Singh Tomar was the Chief Guest on the occasion, while Punjab Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Minister Mr Bharat Bhushan Ashu was the guest of honour. Union Minister Mr Som Parkash was also present on the occasion.

While addressing the gathering, Mr Narender Singh Tomar said, “India ranks fourth in maize production. In view of growing demand for maize across the globe, this institute will go a long way in carrying out research on maize crop and enhancing its production.” “Punjab, the harbinger of Green Revolution, is known for its pivotal role in agriculture, nationally and internationally. The motivation with which farmers of Punjab adopt new varieties and reap benefits is yet to be seen anywhere else,” he observed. The Minister also made a call for adopting maize for animal husbandry. Expressing concern over the challenges being faced in agriculture, he stressed on making judicious use of water and adopting crop diversification. “The country looks forward to Punjab for coming up as a role model in agricultural diversification,” he said.

Punjab Cabinet Minister Mr Bharat Bhushan Ashu threw light on the efforts being made by the Capt Amarinder Singh led Punjab government to promote crop diversification in the state. To conserve natural resources, the government has specially allotted land at Ladhowal for the establishment of IIMR, he said. The institute can do wonders in developing new varieties and production-protection technologies of maize, he added.

Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice-Chancellor, PAU said water crisis and stubble burning are the major issues being confronted in Punjab. The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has developed technologies for the same, which have been adopted by the farmers in big number, he added. Dr Dhillon lauded Central government’s step towards providing economic help to the farmers for the purchase of farm machinery. He said the support of the governments to boost the agrarian sector is vital. Dr Dhillon suggested the adoption of early maturing rice varieties, developed by PAU, and drip irrigation technology to save water. Maize crop can play a significant role in diversification, he said, while calling upon the government to come up with schemes for processing and marketing of maize. All the agricultural institutions of Ludhiana including PAU, GADVASU, ATARI, Borlaug Institute for South Asia and IIMR can collectively work for the development of agriculture in India, he stated. Dr Dhillon lauded the large scale participation of the farmers in the Kisan Mela organised at Ladhowal today.

The Deputy Director General (Crop Science) of ICAR, Dr AK Singh said the government is making all-out efforts to enhance the income of the farmers.  He also suggested the use of maize in dairy as well as poultry farming. Dr AS Nanda, Vice-Chancellor, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, also addressed the gathering of the farmers. Dr Dinesh Kumar from ICAR welcomed the dignitaries, scientists and the farmers.

Dr Sujay Rakshit, Director of IIMR, while proposing the vote of thanks, highlighted the importance of maize in agriculture. Later, he honoured the Ministers with the shawl and memento. Farmers who said no to stubble burning were also felicitated on the occasion.

Mr Som Parkash, Union Minister of State, Gill MLA Mr Kuldeep Singh Vaid, Dr JS Mahal, Director of Extension Education and Dr RS Brar, Director of ICAR-ATARI, also graced the occasion. A Kisan Mela showcasing latest varieties and technologies was also organised, wherein stalls were put up by PAU, GADVASU, IIMR and ATARI.

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