The Punjab government is considering setting up of State Costs and Price Commission for crops like soyabean and pulses, and offering state MSP on these crops to encourage farmers to opt for crop diversification.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has asked the state agriculture department to consider setting up of a State Costs and Price Commission on the lines of Centre’s Commission for Agriculture Costs and Prices (CACP) to work out cultivation cost of crops like soyabean, pulses, maize, an official statement said.

In a meeting held here with officials of farm advisory body Punjab State Farmer’s Commission and agriculture department officials, Badal also asked them to see the possibility of offering state Minimum Support Price (MSP) to farmers for these crops.

Badal also asked officers to conduct a thorough study of cropping pattern in the state so that area wise thrust could be given to alternatives of wheat and paddy for enhancing farmers’ income, the statement said.

The Punjab government has been stressing on crop diversification in the state to reduce area under traditional crops like paddy in a bid to raise farmers’ income and prevent ground water table declining and solid degradation.

Punjab has planned to reduce area under paddy from 28 lakh hectares to 16 lakh hectares in next six years and shift this area to maize, cotton, vegetables, pulses, fruits etc.

The Chief Minister also asked officers to look into the feasibility of enacting a market system for ensuring proper marketing of soyabean and pulses in the state so that farmers could be encouraged for its cultivation.

Solar energy in agriculture

Badal also pitched for utilisation of solar energy in farm operations with an aim to ensuring quality power supply to farming community.

He also called upon Chairman of Punjab State Farmer’s Commission G S Kalkat to work out modalities in this regard.

Unveiling a draft state agriculture policy submitted by the committee under the Chairmanship of Kalkat here, the Chief Minister said the judicious use of solar energy in agriculture, horticulture and floriculture could do miracles as it is not only cost effective but also environmental friendly.

“The need of the hour is to promote the utilisation of renewable energy sources in agricultural activities by creating awareness amongst farmers,” Badal said.

(This article was published on April 5, 2013)
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