SUBJECT :Energy 
Energy conservation is the need of the hour, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) vice-chancellor Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon said while inaugurating a two-day national seminar on 'Upscaling Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Practices in Agriculture Sector' at the varsity campus on Tuesday.

The seminar has been jointly organized by School of Energy Studies for Agriculture, PAU, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA). Delegates, farm engineers from PAU and farmers from various parts of Punjab are participating in the seminar.

Dr Dhillon said proper selection of farm machinery and its appropriate use on custom hiring basis by the farmers can play a key role in efficient use of energy. Highlighting the priority areas of research like conservation agriculture, paddy straw management, etc. he said University aims at reducing the input costs and enhancing the income of the farmers.Guest of honour Dr B S Pathak, former United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) consultant, said energy crops such as sugarcane, maize, sweet sorghum, etc. need land, water, fertilizers and can only be grown at the cost of food crops.

Expressing concern over biomass burning, he said focus on energy conservation, diversification and mechanization is essential. He also highlighted the resources, import, export and availability of now-renewable energy sources.

Nilkanth S Ahvad, executive director PCRA, traced the history of his organization and highlighted its achievements. He suggested that 640 Krishi Vigyan Kendras across the country can contribute to the cost-cutting, income enhancement and energy saving by educating the farmers.

Ahvad pointed out that the farm equipment developed by public sector is entirely different from the one developed by private sector. He called upon engineers, students and farmers to contribute collectively to improving engineering.

The technical sessions saw discussions on energy conservation opportunities in farm sector, proper selection and evaluation of farm machinery and equipment, renewable energy technologies in agriculture, and energy efficient farm equipment.

Source: November 4, 2015, The Times of India