Here is some good news for the poplar-growing farmers who have to compromise on crop yield when these trees mature. The National Medicinal Plant Board has approved an agro-forestry project that envisages the growing of medicinal plants along with poplar trees.
“The project aims at supplementing the income of farmers by providing them a viable alternative which ensures good returns,” says Dr Bimlendra Kumari, Associate Professor of Forestry, Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar, who is the Principal Investigator of the project.
As per the proposal prepared by Dr Kumari, medicinal herbs, including giloi, kaunch, shatavari, ashwagandha, mulethi and aloe vera, will be grown alongside poplar trees. After pursuing the project on an experimental basis, appropriate recommendations will be made for the benefit of the farming community.
As of now, the farmers grow conventional crops like wheat, fodder, sugarcane and vegetables along with poplar trees. However, as the trees mature, the crop yield is reduced due to shade and competition for nutrients and water.
Under the project, it has been proposed that the aforesaid medicinal plants, including three climbers and an equal number of inter-crops, be grown alongside poplars to ensure better yield and good returns to the farmers.
The board has sanctioned a grant of Rs 11.75 lakh for the three-year project.
Dr Kumari asserts that the model they are trying to develop can prove to be a boon for the farmers of the region, especially those belonging to the poplar belt.
In aid of
Dr Raghbir Singh Bains, an NRI settled in Canada, who has received various national and international awards like the Order of British Columbia, was honoured with the Shan-e-Punjab International Award in Ludhiana recently. The award was given by the Alag Shabad Yug Charitable Trust for his contribution to society.
Every year, Dr Bains visits India for three months. During his stay in Jalandhar, he sensitises students about AIDS, drugs and prostitution. He believes counselling can help drug addicts kick the habit, though the success rate is quite low.
He is also the brain behind the Multimedia Sikh Museum at Khadoor Sahib, near Tarn Taran, where he used the robotic and liquid crystal display technology to spread the message of universal love and peace enshrined in Guru Granth Sahib. It is a talking museum and friendly to use.
Dr Bains has visited several countries, including Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, to study the AIDS problem.
The trust also honoured Dr Inderjit Kaur, chairperson, Bhagat Puran Singh Trust, Amritsar; Raja Singh, Chairman, Texla TV, Gurmeet Singh of Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle, Ludhiana; and Jaswinder Singh Chahal, film producer, on the occasion.
Contributed by Sunit Dhawan and Vishal Gulati