LUDHIANA: A 22 member delegation of senior policy makers from Afghanistan, led by Hamid Halmandi, advisor to the president of Afghanistan and accompanied by Mehboobullah Nag, Director Seed Certification, Government of Afghanistan visited Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) for deliberations on water shed management and seed certification. Also present on the occasion were 18 graduate students from Afghanistan who had completed a one month training programme on Seed Certification and Water Shed Management.
Applauding the successful efforts of PAU towards the cause of agriculture and food security in Punjab and India, Halmandi said that with only 4% of land under productive agriculture in Afghanistan, and nearly 90% water getting wasted, there was an urgent need for capacity building in the landlocked Afghan country. He also mentioned that with years of war having devastated the nation, 40% of wheat was being imported, and it was a challenge to feed the nation. He appreciated PAU’s helpful gesture towards making the country food secure.
Vice Chancellor of PAU, Baldev Singh Dhillon, extended a floral welcome to the delegation and also presented a memento to Halmandi and Nag. While assuring full support towards building affiliations for agricultural development in Afghanistan, Dhillon remarked that Punjab shared greater socio cultural similarity with Afghanistan and Central Asia in terms of food, language, dress etc as compared to South India. He also congratulated the trainees and gave away certificates on their successful completion of the programme. “It would be a moment of pride for PAU to see the training imparted being used practically in Afghanistan”, said Dhillon.
During the two hour long deliberations presided over by Balwinder Singh, Director Research, there were extensive discussions and queries on techniques for constructing water harvesting structures, water conservation strategies, seed certification process and authenticity. Department Heads and experts from PAU interacted with the delegates and gave practical tips for capacity building. The delegates also expressed their desire for greater number of fellowships in the field of agricultural education for the benefit of Afghan students.
Later during the day, field visits to the departments of farm power machinery and soil water engineering were also organised.