Focus on Improving Product Quality to Compete: Justice Sanjay Karol

A one-day farmers' scientist interaction on holistic apple production was organized under the Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Development Project by the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, at Chindi in the Karsog Block of Mandi district. The event was held in collaboration with the Department of Horticulture.

Justice Sanjay Karol, Hon’ble Judge of the Supreme Court of India, was the Chief Guest on the occasion, while Prof. Rajeshwar Singh Chandel, Vice-Chancellor of Dr. YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, was the Guest of Honour.

Speaking at the function, Justice Karol emphasized the importance of enhancing product quality to compete with foreign products, noting that India is a signatory to the WTO agreement. Highlighting the nutritional benefits of millets, Justice Karol urged farmers to cultivate millets and adopt natural farming in drylands and rain-fed areas. He commended the university's efforts in popularizing natural farming both at the state and national levels and advised farmers to collectively seek the university's support to improve both production and quality of their produce.

Prof. Rajeshwar Singh Chandel discussed the various initiatives through which the university is promoting natural farming and aiding in the development of farmer producer companies. He encouraged farmers to be proactive, work in cooperatives, and seek the support of the university and state departments. He asked the farmers to also visit the university’s main campus in Nauni and the regional research stations located in the different parts of the state.

Dr. P.L. Sharma, Dean, College of Horticulture and Forestry, Thunag, spoke about the college's activities in the temperate region and how its scientists are helping disseminate the latest scientific information to farmers.

Progressive farmers from the region shared their success stories in natural farming and apple cultivation. The event also featured technical talks on various aspects of apple production: Dr. Uday Sharma shared tips on improving soil health, soil testing, and enhancing soil nutrients while Dr. Bhupesh Gupta and Dr. Rakesh Daroch discussed managing various insects and pests. Dr. Neena Sharma and Dr. Manju covered plant nutrition and plant protection, respectively. Dr. Kishore Sharma inspected plant samples brought by farmers and advised them on various issues. The officers of the Horticulture and Agriculture department also informed the farmers about the various schemes.

The event was attended by Dr. N.S. Thakur, Retired HOD of Department of Fruit Fruit Science; Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Deputy Director of Horticulture, Mandi; Dr Rakesh Kumar, Project Director ATMA; Progressive Farmer and member of the University’s Board of Management Dimple Panjta; Horticulture Development Officers Dr. Chameli Negi, Dr. Naryan Singh, and Dr. Monica Sharma; along with over 250 farmers.