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Dec 08, 2012, 04.38 PM IST | Source: PTI

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"Research can play a major role in developing varieties "Research can play a major role in developing varieties more suitable to different market tastes and with longer shelf life. As we move beyond staple foods, there is need for our research effort to link up more effectively with the private sector which will be responsible for market arrangements so that market demands can guide the direction of research," Singh said. He said the greater frequency of drought and deficient precipitation significantly reduces agricultural production in un-irrigated areas by reducing the area under crops and also lowering productivity. "Rising temperatures will also have negative effects on agricultural productivity including especially productivity of current varieties of wheat. We must deploy our research capability to help in mitigating these adverse impacts by developing varieties resistant to adverse climatic conditions. "Considering the long time lag between initiating research and being able to release tested varieties, we must act now to deal with expected threats. PAU should be a leader in this field," he said. He said that even though Punjab leads in agriculture, "it cannot afford to neglect" development of non-agricultural sector, including especially manufacturing. "The youth of Punjab will increasingly look for productive employment opportunities outside agriculture and it is necessary to ensure that there are enough employment opportunities for them. One way of doing this is for Punjab's agriculture to develop post farm agro-processing linkages," he said. "The Central Government has taken many steps to liberalise investment decisions, opening the way for state governments to compete with each other to attract investments from the rest of the country and from abroad. I hope the Punjab Government will rise to the occasion and show that Punjab is second to none in this endeavour," he said, He said the East-West-North-South dedicated freight corridors will extend into Punjab, improving freight connectivity enormously. The Prime Minister, however, pointed out that two areas that Punjab needs to give special attention are education and skill development. "Punjab's youth, if given proper education and skills, would provide investors with a very productive work force," he said. Noting that PAU has contributed enormously to development of Indian agriculture, he asked farm varsities like PAU to gear up to face the challenges posed by climate change. "This University (PAU) and indeed, all our agricultural universities must also gear up to face the potential threat to agriculture from climate change. Climate change can have serious implications for our food security and the livelihood security of our farmers, especially the small and marginal farmers," the Prime Minister said. "It was Punjab Agricultural University's pioneering work, combined with the receptivity and hard work of the progressive farmers of Punjab and other states that made the original Green Revolution possible, and gave the country food security," he said. He also noted that establishment of PAU "owes a great deal to the visionary leadership provided by (late) Sardar Pratap Singh Kairon, the then Chief Minister of Punjab. I pay tribute to that great son of Punjab who laid the foundation for the agricultural and industrial development of the state." PTI SUN AKA DV

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