Senior Congress leader and Kapurthala MLA Rana Gurjit Singh on Saturday urged the state government to press for fixing the minimum support price (MSP) of maize.
He said it would encourage the much-sought-after agricultural diversification and break the wheat-paddy cycle, which was important for saving groundwater in the state.
In a statement issued here, Rana said though hundreds of farmers had opted for cultivating maize, most of them were disappointed without an assured market.
He said the situation was such that while last year the maize sold for Rs. 1,500 per quintal, this year, it was selling for less than Rs. 1,200 per quintal. "Several farmers have resorted to distress sale at Rs. 800 per quintal," he said.
The Congress leader maintained that maize had a great potential and scope to come up as an alternative crop provided the government gave the required support to the farmers, like fixing the MSP.
He said the state government had missed the target of maize production by about 75%. "However, it was not able to help the farmers to dispose of even the 25% produced by them," he pointed out, while wondering what would have happened if the full target was achieved.