Sujan Singh Pathania, Minister of Multi Purpose Projects & Power, Agriculture and Non-Conventional Energy Sources, has appreciated the farm graduates from CSK H.P. Agriculture University for contributing substantially in improving the agriculture productivity in Himachal Pradesh. As chief guest, he was addressing the twelfth convocation of College of Agriculture, here today.The Minister said that annual revenue of about Rs. 15,000 crore was generated from agriculture and allied sectors and the college has produced more than 1600 graduates who were contributing considerably in transforming the agriculture scenario of Himachal Pradesh. He told that at national level, agriculture was contributing 13.7 per cent to National GDP. The contribution of agriculture sector in the state was 15 per cent of the state GDP. Shri Pathania said that agriculture had become a challenge due to vagaries of weather, climatic variations, fragmentation of landholdings, pest & disease problems, unorganized marketing and pulls and pushes of world trade etc. Under this situation, there was a need to maintain a steady growth rate of at least 4 per cent in the agriculture sector.
Though, the growth of agriculture is very promising, yet in order to make our country a global leader in agriculture, it is imperative to integrate it with developments in other related sectors. The developments in Information Technology over the past few decades were tremendous and offered great potential in improving crop husbandry. Various modern technologies like precision farming, organic agriculture, pest surveillance and forecasting, molecular breeding and biotechnological approaches offer vast opportunities for enhancing agriculture productivity, thereby ensuring economical as well as nutritional security. “Knowledge based system has a key role in addressing the issues which requires better understanding and application”, he added.
The Minister expressed the Government’s commitment for the farming community and discussed about various initiatives and schemes like Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana , National Food Security Mission Japan International Corporation Agency funded project, Agricultural Technology Management Agency, Watershed Programmes, Horticulture Technology Mission and Dr. Y. S. Parmar Kisaan Bagwan Samridhi Yojna to improve the livelihood security of resource poor farmers in different agro-climatic zones of the state.Sujan Singh Pathania also advised the neo-graduates to be prepared to boldly face the new challenges and inculcate confidence and competence so as to serve the society as a responsible and sensitive citizen of the country. He also congratulated the faculty members, non-teaching staff and students of the college for working hard for the education of rural students and upliftment of the farming community of the state. The Minister also awarded gold medals to 32 students.
Dr.K.K.Katoch, Vice-Chancellor of the University read the exhortation and conferred degrees on 413 students and 262 students received their graduate degrees in person. The Vice-Chancellor also awarded certificates of honour.Dr.N.K.Pathania, Dean, College of Agriculture informed that convocation was being held after eight years. He told that his college was offering Master’s Degree Programme in 9 disciplines and Doctoral Degree Programme in 8 disciplines. The students’ strength was 294 at under graduate level and 205 at Post graduate level. Keeping pace with the needs of the changing times, the College upgraded the Undergraduate programme from B.Sc. (Agriculture) to B.Sc. (Honors) Agriculture during academic session 2008-09 and adopted the revised course curricula including the Rural Agricultural Work Experience programme as approved by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research(ICAR) to enhance the knowledge and skill in the field of agriculture for inculcating confidence and competence for commercialization of Agriculture.The concepts of ‘Earn While You Learn’ , ‘Experiential Learning’ and ‘Plant Clinics’ have been introduced in the course curricula of the undergraduate programme to sharpen their skills and knowledge to become successful entrepreneurs. He also elaborated about various other achievements of the students in NCC, NCC, Sport and cultural programmes. Fifty five students have qualified National Eligibility Test conducted by Indian Council of Agricultural Research and 15 other students joined Agricultural Research. Sixty three students have qualified the Junior Research Fellowship examination of ICAR.
For quality seed monitoring, a DNA fingerprinting laboratory has been established in the Department of Seed Science and Technology. Till date, DNA fingerprinting of 32 private hybrids of maize and 6 varieties of rajmash has been done. For the management of the fruit fly in cucurbitaceous vegetables, the Department of Entomology has developed and popularized the ‘Palam Trap’. The Department of Agricultural Engineering has developed 13 farm implements and tools for reducing the drudgery of women in agriculture. More than 50 naturally ventilated polyhouses and 10 high-tech polyhouses have been constructed for the practical farm training in protected cultivation. The college also prepared District Agriculture Plans which were appreciated by the Planning Commission, Govt. of India. Seventeen faculty members of the College have visited abroad to acquire advanced trainings in their respective fields of specialization. Eight fellowships have also been bagged by the faculty of the College. More than 40 varieties of wheat, rice, maize, pulses, oilseeds, fodder and vegetables were developed and released for cultivation in the state and there is huge demand for supply of quality seed of these varieties.The faculty of College of Agriculture is providing free consultancy services to the farming community of the state by solving their day to day agriculture related problems. The different departments of College of Agriculture have generated income to the tune of Rs. 17 crore.Members of University Senate, Members of Board of Management, Members of Academic Council, Members of Faculty, parents of degree recipients, officers from the Deptt. of Agriculture and university staff attended the solemn occasion.