To give boost to agriculture diversification, the Punjab government has decided to bring five lakh hectares of additional area under basmati cultivation over a period of three years.
Announcing this here on Monday, agriculture commissioner Balwinder Singh Sidhu said that under the ambitious programme of crop diversification, due emphasis had been laid to double the cultivable area from five lakh hectares to 10 lakh hectares under basmati during the next three years besides focusing on cash crops of oilseeds, pulses, maize, sugarcane, fruits and vegetables.
He said the idea behind promoting less-water-intensive basmati was to prevent further depletion of the groundwater, which had alarmingly gone down due to excessive sowing of paddy.
He highlighted a slew of incentives recently announced by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal for promotion of basmati export from the state to various countries.
Seeking support from the farmers for achieving the target of five lakh hectares under the basmati cultivation, Sidhu said it would not only help the state to promote basmati as an alternative crop to paddy for giving impetus to the push towards the second green revolution in terms of agriculture diversification but also ensure remunerative returns to the farmers.