CM okays enactment of ‘Contract Farming Act’

CM okays enactment of ‘Contract Farming Act’

Chandigarh, October 1, 2012: In a path breaking initiative aimed at motivating the farmers to shun the traditional sowing of paddy and replace it by Maize as an alternate crop under state’s ambitious crop diversification program, the Punjab Chief Minister Mr Parkash Singh Badal today gave nod for enacting ‘Contract Farming Act’ to ensure better remunerative prices to the beleaguered peasantry at their doorsteps.

Presiding over a high level meeting for the promotion of Agriculture diversification in the state, the Chief Minister gave go ahead for the enactment of this act which would be instrumental in the ‘Farm gate purchase’ thereby enormously benefitting both the maize growers and the prospective Maize processing entrepreneurs. Mr Badal hoped that this act would facilitate the farmers by supplementing their income coupled with assured marketing mechanism on one hand and ensure high quality produce for processing in terms of value addition by the keen private entrepreneurs on the other.

The Chief Minister asked the officers of the Agriculture department to immediately finalize the modalities to notify Maize for the contract farming so that paradigm shift of maize cultivation from paddy could be ensured without any further delay.  

Highlighting the significance of direct marketing of agriculture produce especially the Maize, Badal directed the Agriculture department to immediately effect necessary amendments in the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act, which would go a long way in strengthening the agricultural economy thereby improving the economic lot of our farmers.

The Chief Minister also directed the officers of the Agriculture department to provide subsidised high yield quality seeds, weedicides and pesticides so that the production of Maize crop in the state could be increased manifold.

Badal underscored the need to provide 25% subsidy on the highly mechanized agricultural inputs used for Maize cultivation so that the majority of farmers could be diverted from the paddy cultivation in order to ease out the pressure on our precious natural resources in terms of micro nutrients of soil besides depleting ground water.

To propel the hassle free and prompt marketing of maize, Badal deputed the Punjab State Warehousing Corporation as the nodal agency for ensuring scientific storage facilities besides asking the Agriculture department for installation of ultra modern Maize dryers in the designated markets.

Badal also emphasised on the need to encourage cotton and sugarcane cultivation in the state so as to provide relief to the distressed peasantry of the state.

To further intensify the efforts of diversification in the state, the Chief Minister also asked the Agriculture Department to station Joint Directors at Bathinda and Hoshiarpur permanently, for making concerted efforts to promote the cultivation of cotton and Maize crops respectively in the adjoining areas of these districts.  

He also directed the Agriculture Department to establish Directorate of Pulses in the state for motivating the farmers for cultivating pulses in a big way to immensely benefit them as a part of crop diversification program. In order to popularize the concept of Agro-forestry in the state, the Chief Minister said that a world class State Forest Research and Extension Centre would be established which would conduct extensive research on prospects of Agro-forestry in Punjab besides imparting technical knowhow to the farmers for the planting of trees like poplar on scientific lines.

Outlining the paramount importance of allied activities in farming sector, the Chief Minister said that it was a high time when our farmers should be motivated to take up Pig farming and Goat rearing in the state to supplement their income due to low returns from conventional agriculture in wake of steep hike in the farming inputs.

To achieve this objective, the Chief Minister directed the animal Husbandry Department to appoint specialized Piggery and Goat development officers.

He announced that two Dairy training and Extension centers would come up at Patiala and Dhaliwal in Gurdapur district at cost of Rs 10 crore for imparting scientific training to the Dairy farmers so as to enhance their income.

Badal also said that in order to facilitate the Dairy farmers ‘Dairy Service Centers’ on the lines of Agro Service Centers would soon come up across the state to enable them to use the ultra modern equipments on custom hiring basis.

Realising the huge potential of Fish farming in the state which was credited with highest fish production in the country, the Chief Minister asked Animal Husbandry department, GADVASU and Fishery department to chalk out a detailed action program to tap the unutilized and underutilized potential of fishery in the state especially in the waterlogged areas in Malwa belt.

Badal envisioned the growth of fish farming as a catalyst to boost the income of the farmers which had now been almost stagnated owing to saturation in agriculture.

Prominent amongst who attended the meeting included MLA Gurbachan Singh Babbehali, Chairman Punjab Farmers’ Commission Dr GS Kalkat, Financial Commissioner Development GS Sandhu, Financial Commissioner Co-operation Vishwajeet Khanna, Special Principal Secretaries to the Chief Minister Gaggandip Singh Brar and KJS Cheema, MD Markfed Dr Karamjeet Singh Sra, Advisor Agriculture and MD Milkfed Dr Balwinder Singh Sidhu, Director Punjab Agriculture Marketing Board Mohinder Singh Kainth and Director Agriculture Mangal Singh Sandhu.