Role of improved technology vital for good crop production: Prof A.K. Sarial, Vice-Chancellor

Prof Ashok Kumar Sarial, Vice-Chancellor, has advocated increasing the crop yields to bring these at par with national average. He was addressing officers from the State Department of Agriculture, University scientists and progressive farmers during the inaugural ceremony of State level Agriculture Officers' Workshop on Rabi crops at CSK Himachal Pradesh Agriculture University on 24 September.

The Vice-Chancellor said that yields of cereal, pulses, oilseeds and vegetables were less in the state as compared to national level averages so farm officers and scientists need to devise strategies to increase production and make efforts so that university developed and recommended crop varieties become popular among the farming community of Himachal Pradesh. He also underlined the importance of water conservation, quality seed, poly house cultivation and emphasized the need to increase area under organic farming and initiate steps for zero budget farming. He said that it was a challenge to increase area and production of oilseeds and pulses and the issue could be addressed by improved technology .Prof Sarial also advocated the importance of indigenous cattle and asked the officers to help farmers form self-help groups.

Dr.Som Raj Kalia, Director, Deptt of Agriculture, H.P. informed about the arrangements made for farm inputs for ensuing Rabi season. He told that 7650 metric tone seed of different Rabi crops has been arranged and 28000 metric tone fertilizers will be made available to the farmers. He also elaborated about Rs. 25 crore 'Mukhyamantri Khet Sarankshan Yojna' (Chief Minister Crop Protection Scheme), 'Mukhyamantri Jeevan Suraksha Yojna' and asked the farmers to make use of this and other schemes to enhance crop production.

Dr.S.S.Kanwar, Director of Research, elaborated about significant research accomplishments and priorities of the University. He informed about the new recommendations like release proposal of barley variety HBL 713 (Him Palam Jau 1) for cultivation in Low & Mid hills of H.P. and release proposal of Linseed variety KL-241(Him Palam Alsi-1) for cultivation in Mid hills of H.P. He informed that 40600 Kg breeder seed and 34300 Kg of foundation seed of cereals, pulses, oilseeds, vegetables and fodder crops was produced during last Rabi season. 136 research project worth Rs. 50 crore were in operation in the university. Dr.Pawan Kumar Mehta Director of Extension Education informed that his directorate and Krishi Vigyan Kendras(KVKs) were regularly sending agricultural messages to around 3.47 lac farmers. The University has organized 507 vocational training benefiting around 19000 farmers. To encourage farm mechanization, a custom hiring centre has been established from where small and marginal farmers can hire farm machinery. Dr.Dinesh Badiyala, Dean, College of Agriculture, Drs.Desh Raj Chaudhry and Pawan Sharma also expressed their views. The Vice-Chancellor also released a 'Practical Manual on Grafting Techniques in Vegetables' authored by Dr. Pardeep Kumar, Dr. Parveen Sharma ,Ms. Binny Vats and Mr Viplove Negi. University statutory officers, Eighteen Progressive farmers from different parts of Himachal Pradesh also took active part in the discussions and gave suggestions.