Ludhiana, May 4 (UNI) Placed in similar situations, farmers with small holdings both in Punjab and in the Republic of Rwanda need to ameliorate their incomes, economies and increase farm production.
For this, Rwanda ambassador to India Lt Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa today exchanged views with Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) vice chancellor Dr K S Aulakh on how best the university can lend its support in terms of manpower, expertise and technology to mechanise the farm operation in his country.
Mr Nyamwasa gave a bird's eye of the problems that beset Rwanda farmers, who have fertile land and where water for irrigation is not a problem. But latest production-protection technologies, mechanisation, storage and processing of farm and dairy produce, pose major challenges. Rwanda, he added, looked upto the World Bank and International Monetary Fund for financial bail out.
The ambassador said on return to Delhi, he would get back to PAU with a formal proposal for the exchange of scientists and students and what other help can be extended to Punjab's fellow farmers by Rwanda enabling them to form village cooperatives for community development.
Dr Aulakh gave a brief presentation of agriculture in Punjab and the role PAU has played in ushering in the first green revolution and how its scientists and extension workers have developed a symbiotic relationship with the farmers. The vice-chancellor gave statistics of the area and production under major foodgrain crops, wheat and paddy, and state's contribution to the central food kitty.
Dr Aulakh also spoke on new research strategies chalked out by the university and referred to Rs 100 crore special grant given to the university in the current year's union budget in recognition of its contribution to agriculture.
The ambassador evinced keen interest and visited the farm power and machinery department of the college of agricultural engineering, to get an update of the latest farm technologies, as farmers in Rwanda are still using primitive tools, which do not serve the purpose now.
Mr Nyamwasa also wanted PAU expertise to help Rwanda farmers in taking up organic farming. Dr Aulakh suggested to him that given the rich green cover flora and fauna of Rwanda, besides dairying, farmers there could also take to honeybee-keeping and mushroom cultivation.
Punjab, the VC said produced 50 per cent of the total honey and 25 per cent of total mushroom in India.
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