Chandigarh (NG News)
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Tuesday asked the Agriculture experts, Rice Exporters and state Agriculture Department to jointly chalk out a strategy for preparing a ‘Seed Development Plan’ for Basmati.
While presiding over the meeting of Basmati Development Board, Badal asked the Financial Commissioner Development (FCD) to constitute a committee
comprising eminent Agriculture experts, progressive Rice Exporters and officers of the state Agriculture Department.
“The committee should undertake stipulated contract farming for the production of High Yielding (HYV) and disease resistant varieties of Basmati seeds especially of 1509 and 1121 at an assured minimum price mutually decided it,” Badal said.
He said that the Rice exporters should encourage farmers to do contract farming within the vicinity of their rice mills thereby developing pockets or clusters of HYV of Basmati seeds so that these could be supplied to the farmers interested in sowing Basmati.
Badal said that this would not only propel the Basmati cultivation but would also give impetus to its export. “The ‘Seed Development Plan’ of Basmati Rice should be conceived in such a manner keeping in view of the blueprint of agriculture diversification program in which the state government has targeted to bring 10-12 lakh hectare under Basmati cultivation from the next season,” he said.
The Chief Minister underscored the need to educate the farmers for the cultivation of quality Basmati seed in their fields through imparting extension services with the aid of Punjab Agriculture University and the state Agriculture department adding he said that even the progressive Rice exporters should also be roped in to provide such services to the farmers.
Agreeing to the proposal of Agriculture Minister Jathedar Tota Singh, the Chief Minister asked the FCD to convene a meeting of prominent manufacturers of Harvester combine in the region to impress upon them for the production of combines compatible for the harvesting of Basmati, as of now majority of farmers due to ignorance were getting their Basmati harvested through traditional wheat combine harvesters which resulted in high rate of broken grain.
Badal felt that proper knowledge and awareness about the agriculture machinery/ implements coupled with judicious use of fertilizers and pesticides would not only enhance the production of Basmati rice both qualitatively as well as quantitatively but also ensure remunerative returns to the farmers on their produce in domestic and export market.
Prominent amongst those present in the meeting included Cabinet Ministers Adesh Pratap Singh Kairon and Jathedar Tota Singh, Chief Parliamentary Secretary GS Babbehali, FCD Suresh Kumar, Special Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Gaggandip Singh Brar, Secretary Mandi Board Deepinder Singh, Director Agriculture Mangal Singh, Executive Director MARKFED Bal Mukand Sharma, Director Punjab Rice Millers Exporters Association Ashok Sethi and MD cum Chairman KRBL Limited Anil Kumar Mittal.