CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Tuesday sought the World Bank’s technological and financial support to help the state’s farmers transition from the conventional wheat-paddy cycle to a diversified cropping pattern to enhance income and conserve water.
During a meeting with World Bank delegation, led by Dr. Juergen Voegele, Amarinder said that incentivized by the state government’s programmes, many farmers were adopting alternate crops by
shunning wheat and paddy cultivation. They needed technological and financial support, which the World Bank could provide, he added.
Amarinder directed the state agriculture department to come out with a blueprint of crop diversification and ground water-saving projects for submission to the World Bank, for their technological and financial support.
During the high-level meeting, which focused on the critical issues of crop diversification to enhance farmers’ income and check water depletion, the Chief Minister also urged the World Bank to provide support for promotion of fruit and livestock exports in Punjab, as it had done in Uzbekistan. Amarinder asked
the delegation members to share their experiences and innovations to complement the state's efforts to protect its groundwater table.
He also stressed the importance of enlargement of the existing farm support mechanism, for which procurement of alternate crops like Maize, Cotton and Sugarcane by the government of India at MSP was vital.
He apprised the visiting delegation that as part of its initiatives to strengthen the support mechanism for farmers, the state government would be introducing the amended Agricultural Produce Market Committee Act (APMC) in the Assembly soon. Rules for the amendments, aimed at market reforms, had already been finalized, he added.
Dr. Voegele lauded state’s initiatives like 'Paani Bachao, Paise Kamao' and assured Amarinder of full support from the World Bank in his government’s efforts towards crop diversification and water conservation.
Punjab has great opportunity to herald a new Agri revolution by leveraging its potential in fruits and allied sectors, he added.