While addressing around 200 officers from the State Department of Agriculture, Scientists from the University and progressive farmers, Shri Sujan Singh Pathania, Agriculture Minister, asked them to work for the sustained food security of the nation as it is integral to the national security. He said that the country has traversed a glorious path of agriculture development due to the hard work of farming community, farm
scientists and officers, yet this journey must continue with renewed enthusiasm. The Government has launched a number of programmes to increase food production and these must benefit the stakeholder in time. He also advised the department and the University to launch extensive training programmes for the farmers who are interested in cultivation of crops under protected cultivation so that they may not face any problem later. The Minister declared that each farm officer will be asked to adopt at least hundred farmers and train them to grow vegetables. The Minister also asked the progressive farmers to spread the newly acquired scientific knowledge among other farmers.
In his presidential address, Dr.K.K.Katoch, Vice-Chancellor said that his University will adopt one or two poly-houses in each development block in the State to encourage the farmers in scientific farming under protected cultivation. He underlined the need to judiciously use natural resourcesfor optimum production. Dr .Katoch said that efforts will be made to open two agricultural colleges in the State and reserve some seats for the children of farmers. The Vice Chancellor said that there is perfect coordination between the University and the State department of agriculture. There is need of farm mechanization to reduce drudgery and cost of production. He also spoke on
the need of fodder production and management of stray cattle with proper feeding and proper artificial insemination of the cattle. He also assured the Minister that the University will take all possible steps for the socio-economic development of the farming community.
Dr.J.C.Rana, Director of Agriculture, elaborated about the arrangements andschemes for major Rabi crops. He told that a production target of 6.83 lakhton has been fixed for Rabi crops and all inputs have been arranged. The director said agriculture in Himachal Pradesh has got a big boost due to the implementation of *‘Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna’*.
Dr.S.P.Sharma, Director of Research, said that the University has made efforts to increase production of Rabi crops and a new wheat variety *‘Palam Gehun-1’* and new chick pea variety ‘Palam Chana-1’ have been developed. The University has focused its research in emerging areas like organic agriculture, rainfed farming, farm mechanization, etc. Dr.Y.S.Paul , Director of Extension Education, elaborated about extension
programmes to disseminate the new farm technology among the farming community. He said that after the implementation of National foodsecurity mission, the scientific community is duty bound to transfer new technology to the farmers to increase food production.
Two progressive farmers Mr. Prem Lal from Bilaspur and Mrs Maya Jaswal from Hamirpur also shared their experiences. During feedback session, the deputy directors and programme coordinators from various districts provided inputs to the scientists.