Ludhiana, Sep 23 (PTI) Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Friday said that the state is fully ready to adopt crop diversification but the Centre must provide assured mechanism to give remunerative prices for these crops.
“The Centre must take this step for ensuring that farmers of the state shift from water guzzling crops to less water consuming crops”, said the Chief Minister while addressing a gathering after inaugurating the Kisan Mela here at Punjab Agricultural University and Pashu Palan Mela at Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University.
On the occasion, Mann also said that in coming days an important decision will be taken to get rid of the menace of paddy straw burning.
The Chief Minister said that instead of paddy, the farmer of the state is ready to sow sunflower, maize and pulses but for that they must get adequate and assured price.
He said that this will help in checking the depleting water table in the state on one hand and making agriculture a profitable venture on the other.
Bhagwant Mann said that this is the need of hour to avert water crisis in the state.
The Chief Minister said that the farmers of the state are really worried about the depleting water table and pollution of environment due to paddy straw burning. However, he said that they are not able to come out of rut of wheat/ paddy cycle as they don't want to lose assured price mechanism associated with it.
Mann said that Punjab is blessed with fertile land where anything can germinate but efforts must be made to save this fertile land and it's water.
However, the Chief Minister said that "the crisis of water can never be ignored as we are pumping out water from the ground at the same depth in which Gulf countries are taking oil, which is alarming for us".
"Rice is not our staple food but for producing one kilogramme of rice we are using 4,000 litres of water. So, we have to adopt alternative crops," Mann said, while adding that the state government is already making sincere efforts in this regard.
Recalling the immense contribution of Punjab in making country self reliant in food grain production, the Chief Minister said that the hard working and resilient farmers of the state had provided food security to country in testing times.
However, he said that for this they had to over exploit their only available natural resources in terms of fertile land and water.
Mann bemoaned that "now when few more states are producing are paddy so attempts are being made to deprive farmers of Punjab from MSP, which is completely unfair".
The Chief Minister said that Union government imports pulses worth millions of dollars annually from other countries whereas it is not ready to provide Minimum Support price to farmers of the state who are ready to cultivate it.
He asked the experts of PAU to reach out to the farmers to acquaint them with new technology in agriculture sector.
He said that farmers work hard in fields and have no time for upgrading their expertise adding that experts must reach out to the farmers to make agriculture a profitable venture. PTI Cor SUN MR