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Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today urged farmers to adopt allied farming ways, such as livestock farming, to boost their income. Amarinder said with traditional farming leading to depleting margins, allied farming had emerged as the need of the hour. He underlined the need to motivate farmers to adopt dairying and allied activities like piggery, goat rearing, bee keeping, poultry, fisheries etc to supplement their income. The chief minister was speaking after inaugurating the 10th National Livestock Championship and Expo-2017, organised by the Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development and Fisheries Departments in collaboration with Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) here. Citing the record 190 lakh tonnes of paddy production in the current Kharif season, the chief minister also lauded the contribution of Punjab's progressive farmers to the annual record milk production of 120 lakh tonnes. Pointing to the initiatives being taken by his government to boost farmers' income in the allied farming sectors, he gave the example of measures adopted to promote prawn cultivation, especially in the waterlogged Malwa belt over a stretch of 2500 acres. Amarinder emphasised the need to promote horticulture as part of the state's ambitious crop diversification programme, which was probably the only solution to improve the economic lot of beleaguered farmers on the one hand and make the state's agricultural economy financially viable on the other. On the occasion, the chief minister hoisted the livestock championship flag to declare open the 5-day expo, which was started during his previous tenure from Chamkaur Sahib in 2006, when Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University was also established at Ludhiana to develop and boost research in the field of veterinary sciences and dairy development. Lauding the initiative of animal husbandry and dairy development department in holding the championship, Amarinder hoped that this unique platform for the dairy farmers would go a long way in creating awareness amongst them to develop their dairy farms on modern lines by keeping high quality hybrid milch cattle, besides showcasing their elite animals to motivate their peers. Later, taking part in the deliberations in the technical session with foreign delegates from the UK, the US, Poland and Bulgaria, Amarinder assured them of the Congress government's full support and cooperation in providing technical know-how. Amarinder said that Punjab had just 2 per cent of the country's total milch cattle population, whereas it was contributing 7 per cent towards national milk pool. Earlier, the Deputy High Commissioner of UK, Andrew Ayre said the UK and Punjab could work together in developing a world-class piggery sector in the state. This would help the state's farmers to not only cater to the rising domestic demand but also look at export markets, especially in neigbouring China, which was the largest consumer of pork in the world. He pointed out that the UK was known the world over not just for animal science, but its proven ability to develop and bring, with commercial partners, new products and solutions to market, especially through technological advancement and innovation in genetic improvement, nutrition, drugs, vaccines and diagnostics.
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