Ladowal, Ludhiana, Oct 31 (UNI) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today called for a ''revolutionary break'' from the outdated governmental and common attitude to agriculture and said that only an 'out of the box' approach could save the farm sector from the looming crisis.
''The era of green revolution is behind us. We need to move on and grasp the essential requirements of a modern global economy of value addition'', said Mr Badal while inaugurating the Field Fresh's state-of-the-art Fresh Produce Pack House, here.
The Chief Minister emphasised the need for value addition especially through vegetables and fruit processing. He said that major components for the farm economy of the country, especially that of Punjab would comprise citrus and other food processing technologies.
Mr Badal also laid stress to streamline the entire upper-structure of agriculture marketing in order to maximize profits and break the log-jam of un-remunerative farming.
The Chief Minister said that India was the largest producer of fruits in the world (57.4 million tonnes ( MT), eight per cent of world production and the second largest (after China) producer of vegetables (99.4 MT), 13 per cent of the world production. Its total cultivable land was 52 percent (169 million hectares) and 1/5th of world's irrigated land (56 million hectares).
The Chief Minister pointed out that in addition to irrigation, agricultural investment has to be enhanced in supporting infrastructure. ''We need better transport connectivity, reliable supply chains and cold chains, more cargo and marketing centers, and so on,'' said Mr Badal.
Mr Badal also stressed that there was need to revitalise and improve the research system, extension services, food processing technologies and marketing systems to take Punjab far ahead of others not only in agriculture production but in marketing too. He directed the Vice Chancellor PAU Manjit Singh Kang who was also present in the function, to undertake extensive research in the field of horticulture and recommend high yielding varieties of fruit and vegetables to the farmers.
Mr Badal appreciated the Bharti Enterprises for initiating this innovative venture to supplement the income of the farming community and solicited the participation of key-players in the public sector to ensure marketing network besides the value addition of Agriculture.
He hoped that the Bharti's Field Fresh would showcase best practices in farming techniques and technologies and impart scientific training to farmers.
In his welcome address, Vice Chairman of Bharti Enterprises Rakesh Bharti Mittal informed that Field Fresh, which was a 50:50 joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and DMPL India Ltd has inducted Del Monte Pacific Ltd as a strategic partner in the company. Field Fresh has been exporting fresh fruits and vegetables to key markets including UK, West Asia and Europe.