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Markfed to undertake contract farming of basmati

Written by: Staff
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Chandigarh, Jul 5 (UNI) To promote the crop diversification programme of the Punjab government, MARKFED, Asia's largest marketing cooperative, has decided to undertake contract farming of various crops, especially those with an export potential.

The crops shall include basmati and long grain varieties of paddy, durum wheat, oil seeds, pulses besides fruits and vegetables.

Giving details Markfed MD, G S Grewal said here today intially 15,000 acres would be brought under basmati and long grain varieties of paddy, including PB-1, Pusa-1121 and sharbati during Kharif 2006, in 13 districts of the state.

Markfed has signed an MoU with M/S Shivnath Rai Harnarain, New Delhi, famous for the Lal Mahal brand, for 100 per cent buy back of basmati and sharbati varieties of paddy.

The crop shall be procured at pre-determined price, quality and trade parameters. The procurement price of Pusa 1121 shall be Rs 1200 per quintal, for PB-1 it shall be Rs 1000 and for Sharbati it will be Rs 750 per quintal. These prices are higher than the prevalent rates of common paddy varieties.

Markfed shall provide physical and technical inputs through its network of branches and a team of eminent scientists and agri experts will impart technical know how to the farmers for enhancing productivity and quality. Markfed will also facilitate financial support through crop loan assistance to be provided by State Bank of India at concessional rates of interest.

Mr Sandeep Khanna, Executive Director of Shivnath Rai Harnarain (SRH), informed that their group with a annual turn over of Rs 2,300 crore is one of the largest exporters of agri commodities.

Through the tie up with SRH, Markfed shall provide the backward linkages in crop production, facilitate procurement, storage and semi-processing of the paddy. SRH will provide the forward linkages for the export of finished products.

Mr Grewal further said that after the implementation of contract farming of basmati and sharbati varieties, Markfed is contemplating to undertake contract farming of durum wheat on one lakh acres during Rabi season. The organisation has decided to create a separate contract farming division in order to give focused attention both at the co-operative and field levels, he added.

Markfed is also looking at similar tie ups with Cargill India Ltd for durum wheat and maize and with Field Fresh Foods, a subsidiary of Bharti Enterprises Ltd, the MD added.

UNI HS ARB KP1830

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