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Regional workshop on opportunities and limitations of natural farming organized

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05 March 2021, Punjab, IN: Collaborative efforts by researchers and extension scientists are required to overcome the constraints and limitations of organic and natural farming in Kandi Region of North India. Dr. Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice Chancellor, Punjab Agricultural University expressed these thoughts during regional workshop on “Natural Farming: Opportunities and Constraints in the Kandi Region of North India” held at Regional Research Station, Ballowal Saunkhri. Dr. Dhillon advised that research experiments on Kandi region of Punjab, Himachal and Jammu should be conducted jointly at Regional Research Center, Ballowal Saunkhri and a bulletin for Kandi region should be published from these research experiments. At the same time, he discussed the need to consider the difficulties of agro-processing, marketing and maximizing profits from it. Dr. Parvinder Kaushal, Vice Chancellor, YSPUHF, Solan was the honorable guest of this workshop. He appealed to the universities of Kandi region to make concerted efforts for the organic and natural production of common crops in the region. Dr. J. P. Sharma, Vice Chancellor, SKUAST, Jammu, joined the workshop online and shared information about the Kandi region. He also highlighted the technological gaps which hinder development of the Kandi region.

This Regional Workshop was conducted by Agriculture Technology Application Research Institute (ATARI), Zone-1, Ludhiana in collaboration with Dr. D. R. Bhumbala Regional Research Station, Ballowal Saunkhri. The workshop was attended by designated scientists and progressive farmers from PAU, Ludhiana, SKUAST Jammu, CSKHPKV Palampur, YSPUHF Solan as well as 10 Krishi Vigyan Kendras in Kandi region of Punjab, Himachal and Jammu.

At the commencement of the regional workshop, the Director of Regional Research Station, Ballowal Saunkhri, Dr. Manmohanjit Singh welcomed all the guests participating in the workshop and also briefed them about the work being done by the Research Station. Dr. Rajbir Singh, Zonal Project Director, ATARI, Ludhiana shared his views on the importance of natural farming in the present scenario and its potential in the future, as well as the main purpose of the regional workshop. Various experts and farmers who participated in the regional workshop also discussed about various aspects of natural farming. Speaking on the occasion, the Director, School of Organic Farming, PAU, Dr. Charanjit Singh Aulakh gave a basic introduction on organic farming and explained the difference between organic farming and natural farming. He explained about the lack of standards for marketing & export of natural farming produce and the efforts being made by PAU to promote chemical free agriculture.

Dr. Ravi Sankar, Project Coordinator of Network Project on Organic Farming, Modipuram, virtually spoke about soil health and prioritizing step-by-step change towards natural farming rather than a sudden shift.

Dr. R. K. Kataria, Dean, College of Agriculture, Palampur shared his views on the adverse effects of inorganic farming and the need for natural farming. Dr. Vikas Sharma, Head, Department of Soil Sciences, SKUAST, Jammu provided information on the areas and potentials of various crops under organic farming in the Jammu region. Dr. G. D. Sharma, Head, Department of Organic Farming, CSKHPKV, Palampur, discussed in detail the concept of natural farming. He apprised about the current status of natural farming in Himachal Pradesh and the on-going research and extension work.

Dr. Rajbir Singh shared the plans as per the suggestions of all the delegates involved in the workshop, new plans were drawn up for the required research and extension works for the Kandi region. Dr. R. K. Rana, Principal Scientist, ATARI, Ludhiana informed about the government plans for the promotion of natural farming and thanked all the guests. At the end, the delegates visited on-going agricultural research experiments and exhibition areas at the Regional Research Station, Ballowal Saunkhri.

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