Ludhiana, August 9, 2022 (Yes Punjab News)
The state Minister of Food Processing and Horticulture, Hon’ble Shri Fauja Singh Sarari, along with the Additional Chief Secretary, Food Processing, Shri K.A.P. Sinha, IAS, and other officials visited the Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, here today. At Sutton House, while brainstorming ideas with senior PAU faculty to popularize food processing among the state farmers, the Minister applauded PAU’s ongoing efforts in skilling youth for taking up processing as a farm activity to prolong shelf life and boost farm income.
He ideated the value addition of agricultural produce as the most important way ahead to rid the state of unemployment as well as the negative image associated with it. As a boost to the university’s strides in releasing of new and improved varieties suitable for various processing activities, Shri Sarari stated that the government is strong willed towards taking the concept of processing from the labs to the farmers’ fields.
He exhorted the officials from various organisations to collectively work towards advancement of state farmers as progressive business men with skills to add value to the produce and market the same as well.
Dr Shammi Kapoor briefed about the food processing courses being run by the university. Dr Ashok Kumar too dwelled on the practical orientation of the 4 year agricultural engineering degree programme, as a part of which the students get hands on industry training for one year, which equips them with skills to start their own business ventures.
“ While highlighting PAU’s research efforts, Dr Dhatt detailed about the university’s zinc fortified wheat variety, new and improved basmati varieties with better yield and aroma that are good for exporting. Dr T.S. Riar shed light on the highly successful UDDAM and UDAAN ventures, under which PAU has given meaningful training and opportunity to upscale small ventures into successful start-up stories.
He also gave a peep into the prized farm publications of PAU. On the help required by PAU to upscale its food processing programmes, Dr Poonam Sachdev pointed to the shortage of technical staff for continuous running of the processing lines set up at the technology business incubator.
Shri Sinha also exhorted the scientists to send a proposal for purchasing the linear accelerator designed by the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), the radiation from which is an effective answer to plug problems with storage and value addition of farm produces, for example in extending the storage life of onions, killing of fruit flies etc.
The officials also discussed actionable steps to prompt students for taking up agriculture degree courses as a top choice, instead of the last option and to orient the curricula for practical on the field practices, rather than increasing only the knowledge.
The high level meeting included PAU Registrar, Dr Shammi Kapoor, Director of Extension, Dr Ashok Kumar, Director of Research, Dr Ajmer Singh Dhatt, Dean, Post Graduate Studies, Dr Sandeep Bains, Additional Director of Communication, Dr Tejinder Singh Riar, Additional Director, Extension, Dr Gurmeet Singh Buttar, Former Director of Extension, PAU, Dr Jaskarn Singh Mahal, among others. Ludhiana, Commissioner of Police, Shri Kaustabh Sharma was also present during the meeting.
The dignitaries later visited the university’s Food Incubation Centre, Agro-Processing Cluster, F and V processing facilities of Punjab Horticultural Post Harvest Technology Centre (PHPTC), Central Institute of Post Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET).