Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, on Saturday, urged union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar to sanction a financial assistance of Rs 1,000 crore to the state for creating the necessary infrastructure to develop the technology for production of alternative crops and their post-harvest handling to give a push to diversification of agriculture.
The chief minister called on Pawar in Delhi and conveyed to him that the institutional and infrastructural support provided to the state would go a long way towards a paradigm shift from paddy to alternative crops, a state government spokesperson said.
Badal also asked Pawar to ensure that a minimum support price for alternative crops is announced well in advance of the sowing season and an efficient procurement mechanism is put into place for the marketing of these crops.
The CM said these initiatives would help the state diversify from paddy in wake of its increasing production in other states.
During the meeting, Badal also raised the issue of a Rs 5,112-crore relief package which Punjab has been demanding "following the drought-like conditions due to deficit rainfall in the region".
The state government spokesperson said Pawar assured Badal that the Centre would extend all
possible help and support to the state. On the issue of diversification, Pawar assured Badal that the Centre would help Punjab financially.
Seminar on crop diversification
Pawar has said that a two-day seminar, beginning August 28, is being organised at Chandigarh to create awareness about the significance of crop diversification. The seminar would be addressed by senior officers of the union agriculture department, besides eminent agricultural experts and scientists from the country to apprise Punjab officers, progressive farmers of the state and researchers of Punjab Agricultural University of the significance of diversification in Punjab's context and evolve a consensus on the issue.