Punjab finalizes crop diversification plan

Chandigarh/May 7
Moving ahead with its agenda to promote agriculture diversification program, Punjab Government has formulated a plan for crop diversification that will be submitted to the Indian Agriculture Ministry next week.
The program proposes a major shift in paddy cultivation to other crops like maize, sugarcane, oilseeds, soyabean, pulses besides fruits and vegetables crops.
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal after a series of meetings with the progressive farmers, researchers and senior officers of various departments finalized the promotion of crop diversification program through boosting allied agricultural activities in the state.
Badal urged the farmers to shift from paddy cultivation to other alternative crops to save the rapidly depleting ground water and state government will demanding a subsidy of 50 percent on all the agriculture inputs like seed, pesticides and insecticides besides ensuring an effective infrastructure support in terms of machinery with 50 percent of subsidy and a proper marketing network for the farmers’ produce. Further, state government will propose to set up maize and fruit processing units with the help of Indian government.
Badal also approved the proposal of Rs.198 crore for setting up of a Center of Excellence under Crop Diversification Program to carry out the research work by Punjab Agricultural University in a phased manner during a period of next five years. Furthermore, one litchi estate will be established at Pathankot and one Pear estate at Amritsar at a cost of 3.8 crore each besides establishing sub-estate for litchi at Gurdaspur.
“Punjab Marketing Board will set up 20 big dryers across the state at a cost of Rs 160 crore to facilitate the farmers in getting remunerative price of their produce,” said Badal.