ALIGARH : “Humanity owes its existence to farmers. They are the backbone of the country and our prestige lies in their well being,” said Professor Panjab Singh (Chancellor, Rani Lakshmi Bai Central Agricultural University, Former Vice-Chancellor, Banaras Hindu University, Former Secretary, DARE, and former Director-General, ICAR), Chief Guest, today at a Kisan Mela (Farmers’ Fair) organized by the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Aligarh Muslim University, in virtual mode. He was addressing the inaugural session of the programme on “Post Plantation Operations to Enhance Rice Production”, organized to mark the national celebration of 75th anniversary of India, “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav”.
Prof Singh said paddy is important cultivation in India and it is always useful to discuss related issues in order to make our farmer community aware of new developments in this area. He urged farmers to pay attention to post plantation exercises to increase paddy yields while equally focusing on other cultivations like wheat, maize, and pulses.
“There are several post plantation measures to save the crop from various ills that we can take to increase the yield up to several tonnes. These measures include thinning of the plantation, maximum use of organic fertilizers, crop protection from fungus, brown spots, nematodes and other insects, timely and intelligent irrigation, use of scientific innovations and harvesting of the crop at a right time”, he said adding that post-harvesting operations like thrashing, cleaning, fumigation, and storage are equally important in saving the crop from wastage and increasing the yield. He, however, urged farmers to consider focusing on other crops, instead of paddy, that needed lesser irrigation. It is essential because of the fast depleting underground water reserve.
Prof Singh said that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, our farmers have worked hard to grow the cultivation and we could be able to feed the weaker and marginalized sections of society free of cost because we were able to store a good amount of crop due to better and increased cultivation.
The guest of honour, Dr Ashok Kumar Singh (DDG, Ext., ICAR, New Delhi) said that it is essential for our farmers to identify such species of the paddy that take minimum time in cultivation. He said there is a species that takes only 160 days to harvest; however, we have failed to attract farmers in western UP and Punjab to use this type of paddy.
Dr Singh urged the farmers to strictly follow a well-planned schedule for the cultivation of a crop and switching over to another within the given time. He said more than 10 quintals of paddy or wheat per bigha land can be increased if cultivation is made in a timely manner.
Dr Singh exhorted the farmers to avoid straw burning on the field as it also kills useful insects like the earthworm that help make the land fertile.
In his presidential remarks, AMU Vice-Chancellor Professor Tariq Mansoor said updating farmers with the latest scientific and technological advances are necessary so that they can learn about crop rotation, maximum utilization of the agricultural land and other relevant things.
“Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, AMU has to play its role on this front and Kisan Mela (farmers’ fair) should be a regular feature of the Faculty, as educational institutions have an onus on them to perform outreach activities”, he emphasized, adding that agricultural land is very fertile in India and our farmers need the latest information in growing multiple crops on the same piece of land.
Pointing out the need for a Community Radio in AMU, Prof Mansoor said, “Community radio can play a pivotal role in enlightening Aligarh farmers about latest agricultural practices and sharing new useful information with them. AMU would like to have its own community radio which will also benefit the students of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and the Department of Mass Communication”.
He further said that the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences should collaborate with the district agriculture office and other stakeholders for knowledge sharing and outreach programmes.
Prof Mansoor extended special thanks to Prof Panjab Singh and Dr. AK Singh for sparing time for the Kisan Mela and giving valuable inputs. He also conferred on them the lifetime achievement awards in recognition of their valuable services in the field of agricultural research.
Earlier, welcoming the guests, the organizing secretary, and convener, Kisan Mela, Prof Mujeebur Rahman Khan (Dean, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences) introduced the chief guest and the guest of honour and thanked them for sparing valuable time for the programme. He said the Kisan Mela will go a long way in serving the farmers by helping them upgrade their knowledge to enhance rice production. He said more than 400 participants, including a large number of farmers, attended the inaugural session of Kisan Mela.
Prof Khan hoped that the lectures and interactive sessions will help farmers gauge the scientific developments and innovations made in agricultural sciences.
Later, proposing a vote of thanks, Prof Mujeebur Rahman Khan thanked the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Tariq Mansoor for his help and support in organizing the Kisan Mela. He also expressed gratitude to the chief guest, Prof Panjab Singh, guest of honour, Dr A K Singh, speakers, farmers’ organizations and government bodies for their help in materializing the idea of the Kisan Mela at AMU.