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In Rush For Mode Tech, Traditional Wisdom Should Not Be Ignored: Ajay Vir Jakhar

Calls for reviving the multiple village level and other bigger water bodies to improve harvesting of rain water and recharging the fast depleting ground water levels, and inclusion of innovative practices of doing profitable farming in our school education curricula to wean back the youth to agriculture, marked the culmination ceremony of the 2nd edition of the Innovative Farmers’ Meets organised by CII across the northe states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

Participating in the deliberations at the CII Northe India headquarters in Chandigarh on Wednesday, progressive farmers, industry leaders and heads of various prominent agriculture and related institutions made an impassioned appeal for conserving and protecting various sources of water, which, it was felt, will be the single largest limiting factor for the future of agriculture in India.

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In Rush For Mode Tech, Traditional Wisdom Should Not Be Ignored: Ajay Vir Jakhar, Lifeinchd

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Photos By : Life In Chandigarh

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In his address, Punjab State Farmers’ and Farm Workers’ Commission Chairman Ajay Vir Jakhar emphasised that in the mad rush for adopting mode technologies, the traditional best practices of farming should not be ignored if we are to achieve sustainability in agriculture. He called upon National industry bodies like CII, which, in his opinion, exerted a much more powerful influence on framing government policies than farmers’ bodies, to show greater commitment in espousing the cause of the farming community in terms of framing pragmatic policies and programmes to make agriculture more sustainable and profitable for its practitioners.

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Informing the gathering that his commission had recently undertaken a study on quality of groundwater and salinity of underground aquifers, he said since the aquifers of Punjab and Haryana are interlinked, the CII on its own should study which of the industries are polluting the groundwater and underground aquifers and initiate corrective measures accordingly.

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Reminding the participants of the age old Hindi saying “Uttam kheti madhyam bann, nishidh chhaakri bheekh nidaan (meaning that agriculture is the best work, business or trade is medium, job is forbidden and begging is the worst work)”,  Haryana State Co-op Supply and Marketing Federation (HAFED) Chairman Subhash Chander Katyal called for thinking up new ideas to awaken the youth to the importance of pursuing agriculture as a profession and making it profitable by incorporating innovative practices and technologies.

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Calling on the progressive farmers to become harbingers of change in agricultural practices, Punjab Commissioner – Agriculture Balwinder Singh Sidhu said, since farmers were known to follow by example the progressive farmers had a big role to play in weaning them away from the vicious wheat-paddy cycle. Pointing out that though other sectors of the economy are also culprits in the massive plundering of scarce water resources, but since agriculture is the biggest consumer of water, it naturally takes the lion’s share of the blame, he said, therefore, it becomes our greater responsibility to take steps to rationalise the use of water to safeguard our future generations.

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Dr Gurbachan Singh, Founder Chairman of the Haryana based Dr Gurbachan Singh Foundation for Research, Education and Development (GSFRED) argued that the government must stop forthwith all measures which continued to encourage cultivation of water guzzling paddy. He gave the example of subsidy continuing to be paid to rice shellers and futile heavy investment being planned for utilisation of ‘parali’ (stubble) to prevent stubble burning by farmers, when it is a widely accepted fact that paddy cultivation is an unsustainable activity and has a bleak future . “By these measures you are not helping the cause of diversification of crops,” he asserted.

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In Rush For Mode Tech, Traditional Wisdom Should Not Be Ignored: Ajay Vir Jakhar, Lifeinchd

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Giving example of his own farms, Dr Gurbachan Singh said stubble can be gainfully used as a mulching agent and for improving the health of the soil. Advocating integrated farming (combination of crops grown simultaneously) for improving the lot of the small farmers (with 5 acres or less of land holding), who form 85% of the total farming community, he called upon farmers to form small cooperatives to practise collective farming and direct marketing of their produce to get remunerative prices in lucrative markets. Maize, cotton, pulses, horticulture, dairy, fisheries, etc are good alternatives to wheat and rice, and farmers can pursue them for greater profits, he added.

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He also advocated that the government promote setting up specific agriculture based industry suitable for respective ecological zones to discourage cultivation of specific crops which are not suitable for particular ecological zones.

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In Rush For Mode Tech, Traditional Wisdom Should Not Be Ignored: Ajay Vir Jakhar, Lifeinchd

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The former Chairman of the Agricultural Scientist Recruitment Board (ASRB), as also Agriculture Commissioner, Govt. of India, and Director of Central Soil Salinity Research Institute (CSSRI) Karnal, showed slides of his farms and shared how he was encouraging farm visits by school students to get them a feel of farming, and how it can be adopted as a clean and rewarding profession with a healthy mix of best traditional and mode farm practices.

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CII Punjab State Council Chairman and CEO Mahindra & Mahindra (Swaraj Division) Harish Chavan while welcoming the participants, said the primary purpose behind the series of interactions with progressive farmers in the three Northe states was farmers’ welfare, along with propelling industrial growth and boosting GDP of the nation.

 In a power point presentation, CII Director Dr Rajesh Kapoor took the participants through the entire series of interactions under the 2nd edition of the initiative, which involved 9 sessions at different locations and the final culmination ceremony. More than 5,000 farmers participated, and 20-plus corporate organisations supported the cause, he claimed.

 

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