Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minster Captain Amarinder Singh today gave in-principle approval for a pilot project to be undertaken in collaboration with Israel based farming solutions provider ARNA, to provide affordable technical knowhow to the state’s beleaguered farmers for boosting their crop yield and income, and facilitating crop diversification.
The company would provide a State Digital Agriculture Platform with a database of all Punjab farmers, besides tracking their agriculture activities, such as fertilizer usage, timely soil, water and tissue analysis. The project would be aimed at enhancing crop quality and yield, thereby increasing their capability to repay their debts, an official spokesperson disclosed here after the Chief Minister okayed ARNA’s proposal.
The Chief Minister has directed Additional Chief Secretary Horticulture Himmat Singh to depute a nodal officer exclusively to put the pilot project on fast track.
Earlier, in a presentation to the Chief Minister, Arik Matlaw of ARNA said the company would provide a comprehensive solution for balanced and optimal use of fertilizers by the farmers. Expressing concern over the dependence of farmers on selective crops, the company also offered facilitation in crop diversification by providing technical support to encourage farmers to shift towards horticulture, pulses, citrus, maize, and vegetables etc.
The Chief Minister sought the company’s support in tackling the problem of the state’s fast depleting water table, said the spokesperson, adding that he also urged the Israeli firm to work, in collaboration with the extension wing of Punjab Agriculture University Ludhiana, on an awareness programme to check the overuse of fertilizers by the farmers. The farmers should also be encouraged to get out of the traditional wheat and paddy cycle, which had resulted in drastic deficiency of micro-nutrients, thereby reducing the fertility of land, Captain Amarinder emphasized.
Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, meanwhile, offered his Kinnow orchard farm for undertaking the pilot project, and also offered to bear the entire cost involved in the same.
The latest farm practices and techniques that will emerge from the pilot project could be later replicated in other parts of the state, leading to immense benefits for the farming community, he pointed out.
Among the others present at the meeting were Media Advisor to Chief Minister Raveen Thukral and Chairman Punjab State Farmers' Commission Ajay Vir Jakhar, besides members of Israeli delegation and experts from PAU.
— PTC News