Our main objective is to transform the agricultural production system into a commercial, competitive, and diversified system that can meet the market needs, enhance farmers’ income, and generate new employment opportunities in rural areas. In this transformation, we believe that the research system can play an important role by enabling farmers’ to adjust their production system to meet emerging high-value demands.
To meet these goals, we will focus not only on major agriculture commodities produced traditionally in the country, but also identify new emerging markets and prepare farmers and processors for these markets by resolving technological and institutional constraints on participating in these markets. This will enable farmers to shift to these new products when productivity enhancement in traditional commodities reduces their prices and profitability.
What are new emerging markets? Consumers in the domestic and international markets want balance, quality, diversified, and safe food. In our research strategy, we will introduce the production systems rich in micronutrient, and generate high income and employment to farmers such as fruits, vegetables, and pulses. Oilseed crops are especially important to our economy, because of its large import bill.
The importance of marketing and agricultural business activities in agriculture growth, job creation, and poverty alleviation is increasingly being recognized. We will expand our research beyond farms gate, and will focus on resolving marketing issues of crops, develop technologies for value addition, improve food processing methods, and reduce post-harvest losses. This will improve the competitiveness of agriculture sector in the domestic and international market, and enhance bioavailability of food nutrients.
The impact of agricultural production on climate change is increasingly a concern of various stakeholders. It has been estimated that the health and environmental cost of pesticide use in cotton is Rs. 2.2 billion per annum. The intensification of agriculture production has caused the mining of soil and water aquifer, and reduced organic matter in soils. PARB will pay special attention to develop technologies that can reduce the environmental impact of agriculture production. Similarly, we also want to give high priority to research which can generate technologies for the production of safe and quality foods. This will not only safe our environmental, but also reduce farmers cost and increase their income. PARB will also focus on developing cropping systems and production technologies to improve crop production per drop and per unit of external inputs. Similarly, we can tackle environmental change through research by analyzing how temperature change will impact our production system, and design new systems that can fit in the new climate.
In summary, the research priorities of Punjab Agricultural Research Board will have five major themes:
- Enhance Productivity with Sustainability of Major Cropping System
- Promote Diversification & Commercialization in Agriculture
- Conserve Resources & Protect Environment
- Improve Competitiveness by Value Addition
- Cross Cutting Issues & Knowledge Based Agriculture Policies