World Bank team reviews agri-education project at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana : The Tribune India

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World Bank team reviews agri-education project at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana

World Bank team reviews agri-education project at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana

World Bank experts with PAU officials in Ludhiana on Wednesday.

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 12

A delegation of experts from the World Bank visited Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) in Ludhiana to review the National Agricultural Higher Education Project (NAHEP) and explore future research collaborations. The delegation included Bekzod Shamsiev, Senior Agriculture Economist and Task Team Leader (NAHEP) at the World Bank, and Dr Gerry Boyle, World Bank Consultant (NAHEP). The discussions were held with Vice-Chancellor Dr Satbir Singh Gosal.

Dr Gosal underscored the critical agricultural challenges facing Punjab, including climate change, water depletion, and environmental protection. He pointed out that rice cultivation in standing water releases harmful methane and carbon monoxide. Moreover, the use of agro-chemicals contaminates soil, water, and air. Dr Gosal highlighted PAU’s innovations in Integrated Nutrient Management, Integrated Pest Management, and Integrated Disease Management to minimise agro-chemical usage. He also explained PAU’s alternate wetting and drying technique for rice cultivation, which conserves water and protects the environment. Additionally, he mentioned the development of biopesticides and biofertilizers.

Addressing crop surpluses, particularly for kinnow and potatoes, Dr Gosal underlined the need for improved processing facilities, value addition and supply chain enhancements. He also explored the export potential of various crops, including basmati, winter vegetables, kinnow, guava, litchi, green peas, chili, garlic, flower seeds, turmeric powder, and honey.

The World Bank team proposed establishing cold storage facilities at the farmer level. Shedding light on the importance of linking Farmers Producer Organizations (FPOs) with market intelligence experts to enhance quality production in Punjab, they stressed that tapping into the export potential of Punjab’s agricultural produce could drive diversification, natural resource conservation, employment generation, and increased farmers’ incomes, benefiting both farmers and the economy.

Earlier, deliberations at PAU were chaired by Dr Ajmer Singh Dhatt, PAU’s Director of Research, with active participation from university officers and faculty members. Dr Dhatt spotlighted PAU’s pioneering role in the Green Revolution and its ongoing initiatives in sustainable agriculture. He detailed efforts in water-saving technologies, short-duration varieties, genomic-assisted breeding, crop residue management, biofertilizers, post-harvest handling, and specialty varieties. He also discussed advanced technologies such as genome editing, micropropagation, genetically modified (GM) crops and nano-fertilizers. PAU’s extensive extension activities, reaching over 12,000 villages in Punjab, were noted for fostering strong farmer linkages. Dr Dhatt highlighted PAU’s accolades, including ICAR awards, and recognition as an Institute of Excellence.

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#Agriculture #Punjab Agricultural University PAU

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