CHANDIGARH: In a major decision, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today stressed upon the need to prepare a comprehensive five-year agricultural perspective to push for the much-needed crop diversification in the state.
Presiding over a preliminary meeting here at CMO regarding the two-day agriculture summit to be held in the first week of October at Chandigarh, Badal said this long-term agricultural plan should focus on the strategic approach and meticulous planning to achieve the goal of diversification of agriculture which was the need of the hour. He asked the officers to make optimum use of the platform of agriculture summit to sensitize our peasantry towards the paramount importance for diversification which was the only answer to improve the economic lot of our beleaguered peasantry which was the on the cross roads in view of non-remunerative prices coupled with constant increase in the agricultural inputs.
Expressing concern over the depleting water table and consequently manifold increase in power consumption in agriculture sector, Badal asked the agriculture department to motivate our farmers to shift from this water intensive crop to other crops like maize, cotton, sugarcane and kharif fodder in an effort to reduce the area under paddy considerably.
Badal further said this would only be possible if state announces some diversification plan by giving some remunerative benefits like enhanced MSP, provision of subsidy for the farmers to ensure equivalent margins of profitability from other crops at par with paddy.
The Chief Minister also asked the departments of agriculture and soil conservation to jointly prepare schemes/programs on the basis of less water consuming crops with assured marketing support. This step would not only check the depleting sub soil water besides ensuring handsome gain for their produce of newly adopted crops. He also underscored the need to familiarize our farmers with agro-forestry to supplement their income. He asked the Punjab State Marketing Board to procure 10 dryers, required for drying maize after harvesting before its storage.
Badal also asked the respective departments to prepare a detailed directory of progressive farmers from specialist allied farming activities like bee keeping, dairy farming, agro-forestry and fisheries vegetable, fruits and mushroom growers so that interactive sessions could be held with them regularly to their advantage as well as to have their vital inputs for the overall improvement and development in the agriculture scenario.
Prominent amongst those who attended the meeting included Chairman Punjab Farmers’ Commission Dr. GS Kalkat, Financial Commissioner Development GS Sandhu, Financial Commissioner Animal Husbandry Jagpal Singh Sandhu, Financial Cooperation Viswajit Khanna, Principal Secretaries to the Chief Minister SK Sandhu, Special Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Gaggandip Singh Brar, MD Milkfed and Advisor Agriculture Balwinder Singh Sidhu, MD Punjab Agro Kirandeep Singh Bhullar, Director Animal Husbandry Dr. HS Sandha, Director Dairy Development Inderjit Singh and Vice Chancellor PAU Dr. Baldev Singh Dhillon.