Punjab government on Sunday announced to setup cotton, maize and litchi boards to promote crop diversification and motivate farmers of the state to grow these crops.
Punjab’s Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal approved to setup cotton, maize and litchi developments boards under his Chairmanship with Agriculture Minister as Vice Chairman besides 12 members of Maize Development Board, 11 members of Cotton Development Board and eight members of Litchi Development Board.
The Maize development Board will consist of Food and Civil Supplies Minister, Chief Parliamentary Secretary Agriculture, Financial Commissioner Development (FCD), Chairman Punjab State Farmers’ Commission, Vice chancellor Punjab Agriculture University Ludhiana, Secretary Food and Civil Supplies, Secretary Punjab Mandi Board, Managing Director Markfed, Managing Director Punjab Agro Industries Corporation (PAIC), Commissioner Agriculture, Director Dairy Development as members besides Director Agriculture as the Convener.
The Cotton Development Board will comprise of Industries and Commerce Minister, Chief Parliamentary Secretary Agriculture, Financial Commissioner Development, Chairman Punjab State Farmers’ Commission, Vice chancellor Punjab Agriculture University Ludhiana, Secretary Industries and Commerce, Managing Director Markfed, Commissioner Agriculture, General Manager Cotton Corporation of India, Bathinda and Director Agriculture as members while the Secretary Punjab Mandi Board will be the Convener of the Board.
Similarly, the Litchi Development Board will have Chief Parliamentary Secretary Agriculture, Financial Commissioner Development, Chairman Punjab State Farmers’ Commission, Vice Chancellor Punjab Agriculture University Ludhiana, Managing Director Markfed, Managing Director Punjab Agro Industries Corporation and Commissioner Agriculture as members whereas Director Horticulture will be its convener.
“The Maize and Cotton Development Boards will have 10 progressive farmers and 3 representatives of processing industry each in the state to be nominated by FCD as members for a term of three years while in the case of the Litchi Development Board 10 progressive Litchi growers would be nominated as members for same term,” said a Punjab government spokesperson, adding the Board may invite any eminent agriculture scientist and outstanding Maize consumer or processor, outstanding entrepreneur associated with Cotton processing or outstanding entrepreneur associated with Food Processing as special invitees to the meetings. Maize and Cotton Development Boards will meet from time to time but atleast once in six months but Litchi Board will meet once in three months. Nine and seven members will be quorum for any meeting of the Maize/ Cotton and Litchi Board respectively. These board members will not be entitled to receive any remuneration for the performance of their duty except such daily and travelling allowance as may be prescribed.
The spokesperson added that these Boards had been mandated to examine and review the status of cultivation of Cotton/ Maize crops and Litchi fruit in the state and to suggest measures for their development; to coordinate the activities the Research and Development for improving their productivity and production and upgrade their quality through propagation of appropriate crop production technology; to evaluate the existing storage and processing practices and suggest measures for improving their processing and up-gradation of processing industry; to act as a professional platform amongst the Maize/ Cotton/ Litchi growers, industry and state government for interaction regarding their development, creation of brand through organization and participation in national and international exhibitions in case of Litchi and resolution of issue, if any; and to arrange studies and research to help plan, evaluate and suggest medium and long term strategies for development of Maize/ Cotton besides Litchi in view of World Trade Organization (WTO) and its Agreement on Agriculture (AoA). All these Boards had been asked to device their own procedures to regulate their functioning.