Punjab to encourage cultivation of basmati, vegetable

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Chandigarh, Sep 12 (UNI) Punjab Cooperation Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh today underlined the need to provide proper marketing and remunerative prices to the state farmers to encourage cultivation of crops like basmati and vegetables.

While presiding over an Interactive Farmers Meet and Seminar on Contract farming of basmati and long grain varieties of paddy organised by the Markfed here today, the Cooperation Minister said that the state cooperation department had chalked out a detailed diversification programme through its different agencies to bail out the farming community from the present agri crisis.

The Minister said that due to non remunerative prices and high costs of inputs the strong 35,000 crore agricultural trade of the state was suffering an approximately 1500 crore loss per annum and according to a latest report the state farming community was under a debt of Rs 24000 crore.

While appreciating the efforts made by Markfed towards crop diversification the Cooperation Minister said that the area under contract farming programme of basmati and long grain varieties of paddy would be doubled from present 25000 acres to 50,000 acre during the next year and keeping in view the increasing demand for basmati, a state of art basmati processing unit was being set up at Nawnashaher for producing quality basmati to explore and tap the international markets for exporting basmati.

He said that Markfed godowns/complexes would be declared as mandi yards to facilitate smooth procurement of contract farmed basmati.

He further said that besides basmati the state cooperation department had been making sincere efforts to encourage farmers for vegetable cultivation and a plan being chalked out to purchase vegetables through Coop societies and further marketing it by setting up a professionally managed agency on the pattern of corporate sector having expertise in marketing with the dual purpose of providing remunerative price to farmers and quality vegetables to the consumers at affordable rates.

He informed that a Rs 20 crore ultra modern vegetable processing plant was being set up at Ludhiana which would be made functional in coming 18 months.

On the occasion he also assured the farmers to take up the matter of providing electricity in October for basmati with PSEB authorties, providing all inputs to the contractual farmer through Markfed and examine the crop insurance scheme on sharing basis. UNI

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