Dr. Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth, Akola was established on 20th October, 1969 with its head-quarter at Akola. This Agricultural University was named after the illustrious son of Vidarbha Dr. Panjabrao (alias Bhausaheb) Deshmukh, who was the Minister for Agriculture,Govt. of India. The jurisdiction of this university is spread over the eleven districts of Vidarbha. According to the University Act 1983 (of the Government of Maharashtra), the University is entrusted with the responsibility of agricultural education, research and extension education alongwith breeder and foundation seed programme.
The University has its main campus at Akola. The instructional programmes at main campus are spread over in 5 Colleges namely, College of Agriculture, College of Agricultural Engineering & Technology, College of Forestry, College of Horticulture and Post Graduate Institute. At this campus 4 degree programmes namely B.Sc.(Agri.) B.Sc. (Hort.), B.Sc. (Forestry) and B.Tech. (Ag. Engg.) , two Master’s Degree Programmes viz. M.Sc.(Agri.) and M.Tech. (Agri.Engg.) and Doctoral Degree Programmes in the faculties of Agriculture and Agril. Engineering are offered.
The University has its sub-campus at Nagpur with constituent College, College of Agriculture which offers B.Sc.(Agri.) and M.Sc.(Agri.) degree programmes. The Nagpur Campus is accomplished with a garden, surrounded by its natural beauty and a well established Zoo which attract the general public and visitors to the city. A separate botanic Garden is being maintained on 22 hectares with a green house for the benefit of research workers.
In addition there are 2 affiliated grant-in-aid colleges and 14 private non-grant-in-aid colleges under the umbrella of this University
A Central Research Station is situated at the main Campus which caters to the need of research projects undertaken by Crop Scientists of the principle crops of the region are Cotton, Sorghum, Oilseeds and Pulses.
Agro-ecology of the region
This region has been divided into four Zones on the basis of precipitation, number of rainy days, soil group, physiology and cropping system. The zone receiving 700-950 mm. precipitation with less than 52 rain days having vertisols of varying depth has been identified as the Assured Kharif Crop Zone consisting of the districts namely, Buldana, Akola, Amravati and a part of Washim district while the districts Yavatmal and Wardha and a part of Nagpur are characterised by its precipitation in the range of 950-1250 mm. , 52-62 rainy days having vertisol soils constituted the Moderate Rainfall Zone. The districts, namely, Bhandara, Gondia, Chandrapur and Gadchiroli have been categorised as the High Rainfall (1250-1700 mm.) Zone. While hilly tracks of Amravati district receiving rainfall in the range of 950-1700 mm. have been categorised as Moderate to High Rainfall Zone. The Vidarbha region is endowed with rich forests. The region has an area of 27.5 lakh hectares under forest which accounts for 52per cent of the total forest area of the State and 28per cent of the geographical area of the Vidarbha region.
Agriculture in Vidarbha is characterised by dryland farming with 90 per cent of the cultivated area dependent on monsoon. Foodgrains account for about 54 per cent of the gross cropped area. Cotton and Soybean are major cash crops of the region having about 28 per cent and 7 per cent area respectively.
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