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Amarinder seeks World Bank support to help farmers shift from conventional wheat-paddy cycle


Press Trust of India Chandigarh
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday sought technological and financial support from the World Bank to help farmers transition from the conventional wheat-paddy cycle to a diversified cropping pattern, aimed at income enhancement and water conservation.
During a meeting here with a World Bank delegation, led by Juergen Voegele, global director (agriculture and water) of the World Bank, the chief minister said that incentivised by the state government's programmes, many farmers are adopting alternative crops by shunning wheat and paddy cultivation.
"They needed technological and financial support, which the World Bank could provide," he said, according to an official statement here.
Amarinder directed the state agriculture department to come out with a blueprint for crop diversification and ground water saving projects for submission to the World Bank, for their technological and financial support.
During the high-level 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.
Amarinder asked the delegation members to share their experiences and innovations to complement the state's efforts to protect its ground water table.
He 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 incentivised through cost compensation by the central government to make the campaign against the harmful practice a success.
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.
Punjab has great opportunity to herald a new agriculture revolution by leveraging its potential in fruits and allied sectors, he added.

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First Published: Oct 29 2019 | 7:45 PM IST

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