Punjab CM bats for crop diversification

Chandigarh, July 30 : Pushing forward his crop diversification agenda to check the depleting ground water, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh here on Tuesday asked the state planning board to chalk out a comprehensive crop diversification model.

The board has also been directed to review the schemes of the Agriculture Department.

Chairing an interactive session of the board, set up to suggest measures to initiate changes in the farm pattern, the Chief Minister asked the Planning Department to form a centralised data analysis and monitoring division to collate data on various farm schemes in the state.

It would help in ensuring quality policy and decision making, besides ensuring monitoring and end-of-project evaluation of all welfare schemes, he added.

Expressing concerns over the fast depleting water level, he stressed the need to prioritise low water consuming crops and asked the board to come up with a strategy to persuade farmers to switch to those crops.

The Chief Minister asked for review of working of the Bureau of Agriculture Extension Services to disseminate crop-related information among farmers as well as to guide them regarding timing and application of pesticides.

Stressing the need for a futuristic farm produce marketing strategy, Singh sought suggestions to facilitate setting up of a common digital platform to ensure remunerative price for farm produce.

Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal suggested a ban on cultivation of paddy on panchayat land auctioned for agricultural purposes.

Vice-Chairman Planning Board Rajinder Gupta suggested focus on standardisation of the produce, to make it more competitive in the global market.

Chairman of the Farmers Commission Ajay Vir Jakhar underlined the need to give more powers to Markfed and Punjab Agro to push marketing of fresh vegetables.



Source: IANS