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UK business delegation calls on Amarinder

Written by: Staff

Chandigarh, Mar 16 (UNI) A nine-member high-powered business delegation from UK called on Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh here today and evinced keen interest in supporting agriculture initiatives in the state.

The delegation was led by British High Commissioner Sir Michael Arthur. Taking part in the deliberations, he said that UK specialises in carrying out research and development for food and non-food crops.

He pointed out that UK research and development organisations were keen to undertake collaborative research and training programmes in India. UK's competence in post harvest management of horticulture, its technology, equipment and consultancy was well known world over and UK had been one of the largest service industry.

He said the state of Punjab could benefit from UK technology and marketing assistance, including international quality certification process for food and non-food agri-produce as well as organic produce.

Responding to the investment and trade proposals put forth by the UK delegation, Capt Singh said that Punjab's agrarian economy was in the dire need to replace its traditional wheat paddy rotation with high value cash crops to ensure better remunerative prices to the farming community.

In a far sighted move, the Punjab Government had set up four special purpose vehicles to focus on development of citrus and fruit juices, value added horticulture, viticulture and organic farming.

To achieve this objective, 10 per cent of Punjab's cultivated area would be brought under citrus, 15 per cent area under high value crops and 8 per cent area under organic and viticulture in the next 10 years.

The Chief Minister mentioned that Pepsi and Tropicana were playing a vital role in the promotion of cultivation of citrus fruits in Punjab.

Bharti, Reliance and ITC Groups have evinced keen interests in the diversification of agriculture in Punjab. Capt Singh said that multinational companies like Nestle, Smithkliae Beecham and now DUMEX in Moga would further boost the prospects of agro-processing industry in the state.

Capt Singh assured all possible support and cooperation to the visiting delegation to encourage them to make investments in Punjab and accepted its invitation to send a team of progressive farmers and industrialists to UK to study the feasibility of agri-projects likely to be set up in the state.

PWD Minister Partap Singh Bajwa, Finance Minister Surinder Singla, Chief Secretary K R Lakhanpal, were among others present in the meeting.


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