Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Gates Foundation sanctions Rs. 4.6 million to Punjab Agri University

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) has sanctioned Rs. 46 lakh (Rs. 4.6 million) to Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) to undertake research on poverty in the state. With an objective of tracking changes in rural poverty in the household and village economies of Punjab, the project will initially run for three years (2011-14) and is likely to be extended for another five years, an official release said.

Mr. Manjit Singh Kang, Vice Chancellor, PAU said the project is need of the hour as the state is reeling under economic squeeze, indebtedness and farmer suicides, and poverty ratio in small and marginal farmers and agriculture labourer household have risen in recent years. He said the main purpose of the project is to develop data base at farmer household level on consumption and production parameters, and track changes in poverty and other economic variables over time.

Aiming at strengthening capacity building in the university for further policy analysis in the agriculture sector, the project will be implemented in all the three zones representing sub-mountainous areas, Central Punjab and Southern Punjab. The district level data for agriculture sector will also be collected to arrive at a clearer profile on the spatial attributes and correlates of poverty.

R. S. Sidhu, Principal Investigator (Project)-cum-Dean, College of Basic Sciences and Humanities, PAU, said this project concurrently runs in India and Bangladesh and is being implemented by National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research (NCAP), New Delhi and ICRISAT, Hyderabad.

At first, the project was intended to be taken up in Semi-Arid Tropics and Humid Tropics India and Punjab was not intended in its coverage, he said. During the launch of this project in India in 2009, a meeting with Gates Foundation at Delhi was held where they (Kang and Sidhu) pitched for the inclusion of Punjab in the ambit of this study because of its relevance and importance.

Source: Press Trust of India, April 26, 2011

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