Amarinder seeks WB support for shifting to alternative crops

first_imgPunjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday sought the World Bank’s technological and financial support to help the State’s farmers shift from the conventional wheat-paddy cycle to a diversified cropping pattern, aimed at income enhancement and water conservation.At a meeting with a World Bank delegation, led by Dr. Juergen Voegele, Global Director, Agriculture and Water, the Chief Minister said that encouraged by the State government’s programmes, many farmers were adopting alternative crops by shunning wheat and paddy cultivation. “They need technological and financial support, which the World Bank could provide,” he said.Capt. 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 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.Farm subsidiesHe mooted decoupling of farm subsidies from production, and underlined the need for an efficient marketing mechanism to incentivise farmers towards crop diversification, and said the World Bank could support the State government’s programmes in this regard. He also stressed the importance of enlargement of the existing farm support mechanism, for which procurement of alternative crops such as maize, cotton and sugarcane by the Union government at the minimum support price was vital, he said.The issue of stubble burning also came up during the meeting and the Chief Minister said the farmers needed to be incentivise through cost compensation by the central government to make the campaign against the harmful practice a success.Mr. Voegele, according to the Punjab government’s statement, lauded the State’s initiatives like ‘Paani Bachao, Paise Kamao’ and assured the Chief Minister of full support from the World Bank in his efforts towards crop diversification and water conservation.(With PTI inputs)last_img

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