SAS NAGAR (MOHALI): Improvement in the Indo-Pak relations would benefit the Punjabi farmers and thus facilitate the export of fruits, vegetables and dairy products to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kazakhistan, felt agro industry players on the second day of the Progressive Punjab Investor Summit-2019.
The delegates, who participated in a session on value addition to agri economy, also underscored the need to lay special focus on the processing of fruits, vegetables, animals and meats, besides developing logistics and cold chains.
Earlier in the day, Additional Chief Secretary, Development, Viswajeet Khanna underlined the need to motivate farmers to adopt smart farming technologies, micro-irrigation and use recycled, processed and treated wastewater for irrigation.
Outlining the strengths of the state’s Agriculture sector, Khanna said that Punjab was the sixth largest milk producer in India, with 32.5 million litres daily production. It ranked second in Mandarin orange (kinnow) accounting for 24 per cent of the country’s total production, as well as third in Honey accounting for 15 percent of total production and 21 per cent of total honey exports from India.
The technical session was moderated by Chairman of Punjab State Farmers’ Commission Ajay Vir Jakhar. He strongly advocated improvement in the Indo-Pak relations, which would ultimately benefit the Punjabi farmers and facilitate the export of their agricultural produce like fruit, vegetables and dairy products to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kazakhistan. 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, Head of Finance, Food Division, ITC Neel Kingston said that since Punjab alone was contributing 7 per cent of the country’s milk share and 6 per cent of egg production, it should be developed as the ‘protein source of the country’.
Eminent agri-scientist Prabhakar Rao focused on the issue of climate change and underlined the need to move towards chemical-free agriculture to accelerate the pace of value addition in the farming sector.