24 December 2020, Punjab, IN: “India is food secure. Thanks to Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) and dedicated farmers of Punjab and Haryana,” said Mr Bishow Parajuli, Representative and Country Director (India), World Food Programme (The 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate), while delivering a talk on “Food and Nutrition Security in India in the post-COVID World: Role of Agricultural Universities,” organized by the Ludhiana Chapter of National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS), PAU, today.
The Nobel Peace Prize is humbling recognition for World Food Programme (WFP), he said, while adding that India and WFP share 50 years of cooperation. With 291 million tonnes of food grain production in India, the country continues to be food secure. But due to continuous rise in population, there is going to be land use, excessive use of water and climate change, he observed, while urging for coming up with solutions to make agriculture sustainable. Citing examples of cyclone in Orissa and clouding in West Bengal, Mr Parajuli expressed concern over changing weather pattern. He also voiced concern over migration in India in pandemic times. Mr Parajuli said that the world was also looking at the country like India in terms of improving agricultural production, food system and right accessibility. “The concern is how we work as humanity,” he stated. “We have to look at new Green Revolution; PAU is a leader and has demonstrated leadership in this direction,” he observed. Mr Parajuli stressed on shifting to new mechanisms for increasing farmers’ income and suggested developing new varieties, following different cropping patterns, adopting organic farming and minimizing use of chemicals. “You have the capability and organization like us,” he said to PAU, while adding that the Universities have a role to play in bringing new changes for peasantry. Recalling his student life at PAU, he said: “We take pride in that.” He expressed gratitude to the University for supporting the alumni.
Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, presented the Certificate of Appreciation to Mr Parajuli. “PAU is also honoured to have three alumni as Director Generals of national level councils in India,” he disclosed. Dr Dhillon called for producing more Mr Bishow Parajulis and Mr Harjit Sandhus (a member of WFP), who have brought laurels to their alma-mater in the international arena. “We must take advantage of Mr Parajuli. He is an opportunity for us,” said Dr Dhillon. Further, he discussed the development of new crop varieties, climate change, conservation agriculture and orientation of teaching programmes.
Giving a brief introduction of the guest speaker, Dr Navtej Singh Bains, Director of Research, said: “Mr Parajuli is an illustrious alumnus of PAU, who is known for his leadership skills and commitment to the welfare of the society.”
Dr Shammi Kapoor, Dean, College of Basic Sciences and Humanities, proposed a vote of thanks.
Dr Parveen Chhuneja, Incharge of NAAS lecture series, while conducting the programme, lauded the thought-provoking talk of Mr Parajuli. The senior officials and faculty of PAU and GADVASU as well as NAAS fellows attended the talk.