31 March 2023, Chandigarh: Describing crop diversification as a critical necessity for the state, the Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Thursday asked farmers to take up crops like Cotton, Basmati Paddy, and Moong and not to take up regular paddy which consumes high quality of water.
In a video message to the farmers of the state, the Chief Minister said several crops were grown on the fertile land of the state but gradually the farmers of the state confined them to regular paddy only. He said that this has adversely affected the topography of the state in terms of excessive power consumption, depletion of the water table, and pollution due burning of stubble. Bhagwant Mann said that to tackle this the need of the hour is to adopt alternative crops.
The Chief Minister confirmed to provide farmers with canal water for cotton crops from April 1 and announced a 33% subsidy on cotton seeds certified by Punjab Agricultural University (PAU). The state will also provide insurance on cotton crop and MSP on Basmati.
The Chief Minister said that Deputy Commissioners and Senior Superintendents of Police have been instructed to depute the Police force for checking the theft of water so that farmers can be benefitted.
Bhagwant Mann said that farmers had also raised the issue of canal water theft by affluent people. Ensuring water supply will help in producing good quality cotton. He further requested the farmers avoid the use of spurious seeds.
Speaking about the other steps to promote crop diversification, the Chief Minister announced a 33% subsidy on cotton seeds certified by PAU Ludhiana thereby the high-yielding seeds will be available at cheaper rates for farmers. He said that preventive measures were also being taken to check the attack of White fly and Pink bollworms. Bhagwant Mann emphasized that the state government has decided to conduct comprehensive research on new insecticides and pesticides to control these problems.
Reiterating his commitment to safeguarding the interests of farmers from all-natural calamities, the Chief Minister also announced that the state government is mulling covering the cotton crop loss under an insurance scheme so that the farmers don’t face any hardships. He further said that basmati paddy has been promoted as the crop for diversification and assured Minimum Support Price (MSP) on it. Bhagwant Mann said that Markfed will be the nodal agency to procure Basmati on MSP.
The Chief Minister said that laboratories are also being set up to inform the farmers about the quantity of insecticides to be used on Basmati so that it meets the export standards of European countries on pest residues.
Recommending the cultivation of PR 126 & other similar varieties of paddy, he said that special emphasis is being given to promote PAU-certified varieties and discouraging the water-guzzling varieties such as PUSA 44 which is a long duration variety.
Bhagwant Mann also said that MSP will be continued on Moong but recent research showed that the crop gets affected by white fly which then moves to cotton crop. He further suggested farmers not to cultivate Moong in Mansa, Bathinda, Mukatsar Sahib, Fazilka districts where is is prevalent. Meanwhile, Bhagwant Mann said that 2500 Kisan Mitra will be deputed along with 100 Agriculture experts of PAU to update farmers about these menaces.
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