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HindustanTimes Fri,26 Dec 2014

Giving agriculture its due

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, February 12, 2014
First Published: 12:08 IST(12/2/2014) | Last Updated: 13:30 IST(12/2/2014)

With a view to putting heads together to ponder for making agriculture in Punjab remunerative and diversify to more lucrative crops, the government is organising the four-day Progressive Punjab Agriculture Summit ( PPAS) at SAS Nagar from February 16 to 19. Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar is expected to take part in the event.

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Economists, ag riculture experts, researchers, scientists and innovative farmers from the country and abroad will participate in the summit. The government says the summit will provide a platform to small and marginal farmers to chalk out a pro-farmer action plan for the overall agriculture development in the country.

During the event, the Punjab government will honour three farmers from each state and three farmers from each district of Punjab for adopting alternative and innovative farming practices. Fifty eminent personalities in the field of agriculture and allied sector would also be honoured.

Punjab state farmers’ commission chairman Dr GS Kalkat, the man behind the summit, told HT that international experts would discuss the problems of the green revolution states, especially Punjab. “I hope something tangible would come out of the discussions. There is no agenda for the summit,” he revealed.

“Nearly 92 million out of 138 million land holders have less than one acre of land in the country and their condition is pitiable. Due to the prevailing agrarian crisis, they are neither farmers nor labourers. So something serious needs to be done,” suggested Dr Kalkat.

Eleven sessions will touch upon the challenges and way forward, bio- technology in agriculture, potato seed production, rearing of small ruminants, commercial dairy farming, agriculture marketing and risk management, bee-keeping, investment in food and agri processing besides panel discussion on farmers’ economy with focus on role of Punjab in Indian agriculture economy, handling and marketing of food grains, farmers indebtedness and future of farming.

Two assistant professor rank officials of Punjab Agricultural University will record proceedings of the session and draw out inference. Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has invited all chief ministers, agriculture ministers and eminent national political leaders.

Nearly 50,000 farmers from Punjab alone and 5,000 farmers from West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir will participate.
A coffee-table book highlighting Punjab’s contribution in making the country self-reliant in food production and ushering in green and white revolutions will be released.

BUSINESS HOUSES ENGAGED IN AGRI-BUSINESS

Aditya Birla Group, Tata Chemicals, Mahindra & Mahindra Agri Business, Godrej Agrovet, Dabur India, ITC, Nestle, Coca Cola, PepsiCo India, DSCL (Shriram Fertilisers and Chemicals), New Holland Fiat India, Syngenta India, Wimco, EI DuPont India, Cargill India, John Deere India and Rallis India will participate in the summit by putting up their stalls in the exhibition.

EXPERTS FROM ABROAD

Agriculture experts and delegates from Canada, Pakistan, Britain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Australia and the United States will take part in the summit.
Saskatchewan province of Canada minister of agriculture Lyle Stewart, agriculture minister Pakistan Punjab Furrukh Javed, British deputy high commissioner North West India David Lelliott, Director Netherlands agro, food and technology centre Marijn Leijten, Australian first secretary Chris King and director general international maize and wheat improvement centre USA Dr Thomas Lumpkin will take part.

PROMINENT INVITEES

Agriculture scientist and plant breeder Dr Gurdev Singh Khush; director general, Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR), New Delhi, Dr S Ayyappan; former chairman, commission for agriculture costs and prices Prof T Haque; director, national centre for agriculture economics and policy research Dr Ramesh Chand; former director general ICAR, New Delhi, Dr RS Parodha.

13 NATIONAL INSTITUTIONS

Indian Council of Agriculture Research, New Delhi; director of animal husbandry, dairy and fishery New Delhi; national horticulture board; national seeds corporation, New Delhi; coconut development board, Kerala; national agricultural cooperative marketing federation of India, New Delhi; directorate of plant protection quarantine and storage, Faridabad; national horticulture mission, New Delhi; national committee on plasticulture applications in horticulture, New Delhi; state farm corporation of India, New Delhi; small farmers’ agri-business consortium, New Delhi; national dairy development board, Gujarat; and national cooperative development corporation, New Delhi.

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