Ludhiana agri varsity ready to help Pak farmers

Source: The News International (June 10, 2009)

From Rasheed Khalid


LUDHIANA (India): Prof Manjit Singh Kang, Vice-Chancellor of Punjab University of agriculture (PUA), Ludhiana, East Punjab, India, has assured all help in sharing knowledge with Pakistani farmers and universities.


Prof Singh said this while welcoming the Pakistani fanners delegation visiting India on a peace and study tour under the auspices Pak-India Farmers Forum (TIFF). The visit was organised by Jalandhar Potato Growers Association (JPGA) and Green Circle Organisation (GCO) in the Campus here on Monday. Dr Manjit Sing said that his institution developed 169 varieties of wheat and Punjab is the region with the highest yield per acre in wheat in the world. In a nostalgic tone, he said that PUA was once Punjab Agricultural College and was an affiliated college of the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan.


Earlier, Prof P S Minnas Singh, Director-Research, PUA, said that we send representatives to all 20 districts of the province for sample collection.


Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, a farmer, Mathematician, pacifist and Chairperson, Punjab State Agriculture Marking Board, recalled that he was enthusiastically welcomed with drums (dhole) at Gojra near Faisalabad two years ago. He said that Punjab this year produced 10.9 million metric tonnes wheat which was the highest in its history.


In an emotional tone he said that he has been taking candles to Wahga for the last 15 years on the night between Aug 14 and 15. He said that it is unfortunate that we trade with far away countries like Canada but not with our immediate neighbour. He said that we share common problems.


Rana Shafiq-ur-Rahman from GCO who is heading the delegation said that peace will emerge from concrete steps, e.g. GCO signed MoU Sunday with Rapoor Farms for cooperation in potato tissue culture. He said that the two governments are not doing anything in concrete terms so NGOs and businesspersons should come forward. Jaswmder Singh, General Secretary JPGA.said that his organization has,


6,000 members. He said that there should be networking at village level. He said that we had surplus potato crop last year which might have rotten if Pakistan extended timely help by importing potatoes.


Earlier, addressing a press conference, Rana Shafiq at Jalandhar Press Club called for a common visa policy in South Asia and demanded the governments to abolish visa requirements in the SAARC members. He said that peoples of the two countries voted for secular parties and hoped that the Congress government in India and PPP government in Pakistan will improve mutual relations in order to respect the mandate of the two peoples. Ragbir Singh, President JPGA, said that we can exchange seeds of potato, vegetables, & and crops, Sardar Jaswinder Singh said villagers in Hoshiarpur’ welcome the Pakistani delegates whose elders had migrated from these areas in 1947, with ‘bhangrha’ dance and music.

He said that a 108-year old man stood up without support when told a guest from Pakistan belonging to this village had come. A Pakistani delegate Kalyan Singh from Nankana Sahib said that Sikhs in NWFP Tribal Areas, and Nankana Sahib etc in Pakistan. He said stringent visa policies should be relaxed. The poor people do not have gas or electricity in villages and do not own houses, hence can not produce electric or gas bills required for getting even visa forms.


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