Chandigarh, May 5 (UNI) To meet the challenges of structural change in Punjab's agriculture, Markfed, Asia's largest cooperative has announced restructuring its business portfolio and priorities to provide support to the small and marginal farmers of Punjab.
Markfed's existing business profile was derived from the green revolution and was structured to provide inputs supported for the existing paddy-wheat cycle. The bulk of its existing business was also in procuring paddy and wheat on behalf of the government.
However with Punjab agriculture set to undergo a change, the future growth for Markfed would come from new crops and with better value chain such as horticulture and cash crops like maize, barely and higher value pulses, legumes and oilseeds, a Markfed spokesman today said.
In order to continue to provide support to Punjab's small farmers and agriculturists, Markfed would be expanding its business portfolio to cover animal husbandry, poultry and aqua culture.
The spokesman said Markfed would now support the state government's overall efforts to enable the small farmers of Punjab to realise a higher income at reduced input costs.
Based on the policy formulation and priorities identified by the Punjab Farmers's Commission, Markfed would be looking at projects like wood processing and pulping unit, maize processing for ethanol and integrated poultry processing units.
The other future priorities for the organisation are setting-up an integrated Basmati rice processing complex, state-of-the-art oil processing unit to support new and higher value oil seeds crops in Punjab and integrated horticulture cold chain to support the initiatives being undertaken by the Punjab State Farmers's Commission for the benefit of the farmers.
The spokesman said Markfed would also be looking at low cost 'net house' cultivation of vegetables with very low levels of pesticides.The cooperative would also be going in for expansion of cold chain network to include cold chain logistics such as long range road transport and air transport.
The spokesman said the cooperative would focus its efforts in helping build and increase Punjab's brand equity. Its emphasis would be to promote the concept of ''procure products of Punjab rather than only concentrating on its own brands''.
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