Punjab for effective involvement of cooperative movement in agriculture sector

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Ludhiana, Feb 9(ANI): The Punjab Agricultural University recently organized a workshop in Ludhiana, which focused on making the cooperative movement in the state effective in agriculture sector.

The cooperative sector in India is the largest in the world and it plays a pivotal role in employment generation, poverty alleviation and food security. There are more than 500,000 co-operative societies working to bring about a change in the country.

Through the workshop themed 'Relevance of Cooperative Movement in Agriculture', the Punjab Agricultural University aimed to help farmers adopt new technologies that they generated.

According to the officials, the role of cooperative sector is extremely important in agriculture sector, as it supplies agricultural credit and funds and has the potential to deliver goods and services in vital areas where state and private sectors have not been able to do very much. n Punjab, cooperatives are playing a critical role in creating mass awareness too.

"Punjab is an agricultural state and our main focus during these days is to reduce the cost of production and enhance the per unit productivity level. It is only possible if we create the awareness among the masses that how we can reduce the cost of cultivation. Our second thrust area is to rationalize the use of resources available with us," said M.S. Gill, Director of Extension Education, Punjab Agricultural University.

"At all the forums, we always cry that water table is declining, soil health is degraded, so with the cooperative department till date their main focus was to arrange the supply of the inputs which are considered very crucial for the agriculture sector," Gill added. he cooperative movement in Punjab is on strong footing with 60,000 societies that have a total turn over of around four billion dollars.

Small and marginal farmers are able to take up new technologies and even go in for alternative farming, as credit is easily available at Cooperative Banks.

In Punjab, many educated unemployed youth too have benefited from self-employment schemes un by the cooperative societies.

"There is tremendous scope for employment. We need passion to improve the conditions in farming. About 300,000 farmers in Punjab have per capita five acres of land and they need our help. So there is no doubt that a number of people can get employment," said Dr. Maninderjeet Singh, Chief Medical Officer.

Balmukand Sharma, Chief Manager of Markfed in Punjab, said: "Cooperatives are one of the biggest employers at the world level. Around 10 million people are already employed by it. So eeping that in mind we think there is a huge scope for the students of B. Sc. (Agriculture) and MBA in Agri Business Management in private and government sector,"

"They can get employment in cooperatives like Markfed, Milkfed, housing federation, cooperative banks and development banks because after the retirement of the old staff, new recruitments will take place, so it offers good employment opportunities," he added.

Dairy farming is one of the main thrust areas of economic development in Punjab, and cooperatives like Milkfed and the Punjab State Cooperative Milk Producers' Federation Limited have achieved impressive results posting massive gains since their inception in 1973.

In fact, provisions have been so made that small and landless rural families are able to supply their milk with convenience to the urban consumers with the help of cooperative Unions.

Agriculture continues to be an extremely important sector of India's economy and the cooperative movement has a crucial role to play in bringing about its transformation. By Karan Kapoor (ANI)

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