The Punjab government has installed a new maize dryer at the local grain market at Rs 7 crore to promote diversification in farming sector and motivate farmers to come out of wheat and paddy cop cycle.
The construction of the dryer unit which was in process for the past three months is almost complete. The equipment for setting up the dryer unit has been imported from Taiwan and it will help farmers dry their harvest quickly.
Earlier, farmers faced problem due to manual drying of their harvest and it took them around a week for doing so, as a result of which they would sell their harvest to agents at less prices.
The government’s main objective to set up the unit is to promote cultivation of maize to save groundwater which is depleting due to the cultivation of crops that consume huge amount of water.
The unit will not only dry maize but also dry similar crops such as sunflower and paddy.
“Farmers were confined to cultivation of wheat and paddy, which needs a lot of water whereas maize consumes around 60% less water from paddy till it ripens,” said Harminder Singh, district mandi officer, Kapurthala.
He said the requisite machinery has been imported from Taiwan and only the installation part remains.
“Once the project gets functional farmers will not face trouble selling their maize crop since it will save their time, thus helping them get good price of their harvest,” he added.
This year, around 2.5 lakh quintals maize arrived at the Kapurthala grain market while it was 1.5 lakh quintals in 2013.
Ranjit Singh Khojewal, chairman, market committee, said the plant is expected to be functional by January 2015.
“Well-trained staff will be appointed to run this dryer,” he said. There are two major maize harvesting seasons.