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The Economic Times

Punjab CM Amarinder Singh seeks crop diversification model

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The CM asked board members to review the working of the Bureau of Agriculture Extension Services to aggressively disseminate crop knowledge and information among farmers, besides guiding them regarding timing and application of pesticides.
CHANDIGARH: In order to save large volumes of water consumed for growing wheat and paddy, Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh asked the State Planning Board to chalk out a comprehensive crop diversification model.

The board has also been directed to undertake a detailed review of various schemes of the state agriculture department to bring in much-needed reforms in the sector, said people aware of the matter.

In an interactive session with the members of the board on Tuesday, the CM directed the planning department to set up a centralised data analysis and monitoring division for collation of all data related to the various agricultural schemes in the state. This would help in ensuring quality policy and decision-making, besides concurrent monitoring and end-of-project evaluation of all government welfare schemes, he said.

Expressing concern over the fast depleting water table, Singh underlined the need to prioritise less water consuming crops, beginning with maize and cotton. He asked the board to come up with a strategy to persuade farmers to shift to these crops from the traditional wheat and paddy.

The CM asked board members to review the working of the Bureau of Agriculture Extension Services to aggressively disseminate crop knowledge and information among farmers, besides guiding them regarding timing and application of pesticides.

Stressing on the need to evolve a futuristic marketing strategy for agricultural produce, Singh sought suggestions on the same, so as to enable 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.

The vice chairman of Planning Board, Rajinder Gupta, suggested more focus on standardisation of the produce, to make it more competitive in the international market.

Ajay Vir Jakhar, chairman, Punjab State Farmers Commission underlined the need to give more powers to Markfed Punjab and Punjab Agro Industries Corporation to push marketing of fresh vegetable produce.

KVS Sidhu of Patiala Horticulture mooted rationalisation of farm subsidies to ensure equitable allocation of state resources for the agriculture development.
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