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Shift focus on new crops to replace rice-wheat monoculture: PAU

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08 July 2021, Punjab: The Additional Chief Secretary (Development), Government of Punjab and the new Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) Mr Anirudh Tewari called upon the agri-experts to shift focus on new crops to replace rice-wheat monoculture, maintain farmers’ income and conserve natural resources. He was of the opinion that major changes take considerable time to take place. During his visit to PAU today, he said: “Revolution never comes overnight, it takes time to build-up. Green Revolution took 20 years and involved a lot of hard work by farmers, PAU and extension department. We were the ones to introduce Consolidation of Land Holdings and that was a huge institutional reform.” Mr Tewari further stated: “We have travelled a long distance from 1960s and moved on as a society. We need to take farmer out of this monoculture of wheat-paddy, work in a focused manner and give new options to them for diversification.”

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“The entire focus of the research has been on productivity. But despite high productivity, we are unable to meet the returns, which farmers expect,” he observed. Mr Tewari said today the call of farmer is for sustainable agriculture. He opined that horticulture crops can be replacement of traditional crops to save resources and increase farmers’ profits. “Punjab is the most prosperous state and the state is dependent on farming community. If we have prosperous farming community, they will consume and provide jobs,” he stated. “The prices are rising. Out of 10 lakh farmers in Punjab, how many are having access to specialised inputs?” he pointed out. “What we are working today is a challenge not only for the University, not only for the farming community but the state as a whole. There is a need to reorient thought-process, research and training of students that pushes us into direction where we can help the farmer,” he remarked. Mr Tewari also made a call for converting Punjab into seed centre of the country and supporting seed growers. Besides, the PAU Vice-Chancellor discussed various academic programmes relating to internship of students, study status of students pursing agriculture and extension set up of the University.

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