SUBJECT :Agriculture 

Endorsing the majority consensus emerged after the detailed deliberations with progressive farmers and Agriculture experts from across the state, Punjab’s Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today gave a go ahead to fine tune the policy for ‘Management & Utilization of Paddy Straw’ with a thrust on a multi-pronged integrated approach backed by full support for providing necessary farm machinery to farmers on subsidy to promote the concept of in-situ management of paddy straw.
Concluding the two-day ‘Stakeholders’ Consultative Conference on Management and Utilization of Paddy Straw’ jointly organized by the Departments of Science & Technology and Agriculture, the Chief Minister said that the concept of re-incorporation of paddy straw would enormously help the farmers to retain the fertility of soil besides ensuring a environment-friendly solution for efficient disposal of paddy residue which otherwise was posing a major threat to the ecology of the state. He said this farmer friendly approach would relieve them of the problem of paddy burning thereby enabling them to sow the next crop without any hardships.
Badal revealed that according to the Agriculture experts and Soil Scientists, the in-situ mechanism of paddy straw would result in 25% reduction in the fertilizers consumption thereby accruing a profit of nearly 400 crore annually to the state farmers.
Conceding the demand of farmers, the Chief Minister agreed to convene a meeting of combined harvesters manufactures to ensure the installation of Straw Management System (SMS) on the harvesters to facilitate the farmers for making use of happy seeder for sowing wheat without any glitches as the SMS would beneficial in uniform dispersal of paddy straw in the fields. He also directed the Financial Commissioner Development (FCD) to take up the issue of getting modification done as per the requirements of the local farmers in the farm equipments such as Paddy Straw Reapers, Mulchers, Choppers and Shredders to promote the technique of in-situ management of paddy straw in a result-oriented manner. He also asked the Dean Research of GADVASU to suggest ways and means of making optimum use of paddy straw as fodder for the cattle as it was not only enriched with several vitamins and nutrients needed for enhancing the milk production but also for improving the health of animals in general.
The Chief Minister asked the agriculture department to launch a vigorous publicity campaign to familiarize the farmers with the various ongoing schemes/projects especially related to subsidy on agriculture machinery, drip & sprinkle irrigation besides solar power tubewells so that majority of farmers could be benefitted from these farmer-oriented schemes. Likewise, he also emphasized the need to live telecast of such conferences so that several farmers could update their knowledge by sitting at homes with the experiences and expertise of various progressive farmers and agriculture scientists. He also asked the FCD to examine the demand for giving subsidy on the cane crusher for jaggery (gur) making on the prevalent norms of subsidy extended on other agriculture equipments. Mr. Badal also asked the Chairman Punjab State Farmer’s Commission to broad base the ambit of agriculture service centers by purchasing heavy agriculture machinery including several 60 and above HP tractors, mulchers, balers, combined harvesters fitted with SMS to enable the majority of farmers to avail these agro services. He also asked the FCD to look into the proposal for extending easy credit facility especially for the youth who were interested in purchasing agro machinery/farm equipment for custom hiring.
Badal also directed the Punjab State Farmers’ Commission to grant subsidy to all the applicants for the purchase of farm implements especially happy seeders, paddy straw reapers and rotavators. The Chief Minister also directed the agriculture department to get installed small maize dryers across the state so that small and marginal farmers could be immensely benefitted.
The Chief Minister called upon the farmers to attend the five-days agriculture summit to be organized at Mohali on 16-19 February where all the stakeholders associated with agriculture right from farmers to agriculture experts, scientists, economists, policy makers and agro industrialists would deliberate on the new emerging technologies and strategies in the farm sector. He said that it would be a healthy platform for the Punjabi farmers to share their experiences, success stories and problems in the current agriculture scenario.

Source: North Gazette, 4 Jan, 2014