Progressive Punjab Investors Summit : Industry bats for value addition in agri-productsUpdated: Dec 06, 2019 23:45 IST
Leading players in the agri industry on Friday pitched for providing value addition to the agricultural produce of farmers in order to ensure remunerative returns for them. It was also stressed to indulge in research that deals with the impact of climate change on crops.
The consensus on the issue emerged during the session “Agri & Food Processing Session-Punjab: Value Addition to Agri Economy’ the second day of the Progressive Punjab Investors Summit 2019.
The delegates also underscored the need to lay special emphasis on processing of fruits, vegetables, meat, besides developing logistics and cold chains. They stressed the need to process the agro wastes to avoid environmental degradation, and thereby achieve the goal of sustainable agriculture.
On the occasion, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, and California State University, Fresno for undertaking research collaboration and student exchange in the field of agriculture and food processing.
Earlier, addressing a galaxy of agriculture experts academicians, researchers, agro-industrialists and progressive farmers, Additional Chief Secretary, Development, Viswajeet Khanna underlined the need to motivate farmers to adopt smart farming technologies, micro irrigation and use of the recycled or treated waste water for irrigation purposes.
Outlining the strengths of the state’s agriculture sector, Khanna said that Punjab was the 6th largest milk producer in India, with 32.5 million litres daily production. It ranked second in Mandarin orange (kinnow) accounting for 24% of the country’s total production, as well as third in Honey production accounting for 15% of total production and 21% of total honey exports from India.
Khanna further pointed out Punjab had an extensive network of Infrastructure, production, storage and marketing, with dedicated Research Centres like PAU, Fruit Research Station, Bahadurgarh, Patiala, and Jallowal in Hoshiarpur. He invited the private players to explore the tremendous opportunities offered by the state to develop agro industry, and to forge collaborations with PAU for research.
Chairman of Punjab State Farmers’ Commission Ajay Vir Jakhar strongly advocated improvement in the Indo-Pak relations, which would ultimately benefit the Punjabi farmers and facilitate export of their agricultural produce like fruit, vegetables and dairy products to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kazakhstan etc.
This move would be instrumental in opening new vistas of export potential for agri-products from Punjab in Central Asia, thereby transforming the destiny of the state’ farmers.
Taking part in the deliberations, Neel Kingston said that since Punjab alone was contributing 7% of the country’s milk share and 6% of egg production, it should be developed as the ‘protein source of the country’. He hailed the initiative of state government for facilitating the ITC group in setting up its state-of-the-art Agro food unit at Kapurthala.
2,000-YR-OLD WHEAT VARIETY SONA MOTI PRESERVED
Agriculture scientist Prabhakar Rao said he had preserved 2,000-year-old wheat variety “sona-moti” seeds which he got from the Pingalwara ashram in Amritsar. He said the variety was sown over 800 hectares in Jalalabad area this season. “Last year, the variety which has zero gluten and high folic content fetched farmers ₹75 per kilogram. So we have expanded its area this season,” he said.
The panellists also included CEO, Godrej Tyson Foods, Prashant Vatkar, MD, CN IFFCO, Inigo Anton, head of finance, food division and ITC Neel Kingston.