Chandigarh, February 15:
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has set up a three-member committee to work out a marketing strategy for the benefit of maize and potato farmers in the state.
The committee, comprising ACS (Cooperation), ACS (Development) and Chairman, The Punjab State Farmers Commission, has been asked to submit its report by March 1, 2018.
According to an official spokesperson, the committee has been tasked with suggesting ways and means of providing marketing support for maize and potato crops to ensure that the farmers get remunerative prices, without wastage of these commodities.
Expressing concern over the losses suffered by farmers due to lack of proper marketing facilities for these crops, which end up getting wasted in the absence of their timely sale, the Chief Minister has asked the committee to identify domestic and international markets for sale and supply of their produce at attractive prices.
Captain Amarinder has also directed the committee to explore the possibility of future trading in these items to facilitate farmers in ensuring remunerative pricing with risk hedging. This, he said, would also encourage the farmers to opt for crop diversification in a big way, in line with the state government’s thrust on diversified cultivation as a means of rescuing them from their debt cycles.
The Chief Minister has further sought from the committee suggestions to spread awareness among potato growers about various varieties of the root to help them cultivate the varieties that are in demand by large MNCs, such as McDonald’s and McCain Foods. This, he said, would help provide the state’s potato farmers with a ready market for their yield on a consistent basis and at the best possible price.
On the issue of maize crop, the Chief Minister wanted the committee to assess the possibility of ethanol production from maize/corn, as suggested by Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari. He asked the committee to analyse the cost benefits of such production and the remuneration it would yield for the beleaguered farmers of the state.