ICAR to Boost Farm Diversification, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries in Punjab

Chandigarh, April 25, 2011

Chief Minister of Punjab, Sri Parkash Singh Badal urged the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) to boost the agricultural, dairy and fisheries sectors in the state by adopting result oriented approach and establishing specific commodity oriented research stations. He was presiding over a high level meeting organized here today with senior officials of the ICAR and State Government to deliberate on the problems concerning Punjab in these sectors.

Chief Minister urged Council to establish research stations in the state for enhancing production of pulses and kinnow through research support. Sri Badal also insisted on opening an ICAR center in south-western Punjab where ample scope for fisheries exists in saline water unfit for agriculture. Sri Badal further added that productivity of current varieties of wheat and rice had reached a plateau and research to develop higher yielding varieties both of wheat and short duration rice is essential that could be tolerant to pests and diseases besides adaptable to climate change. He also showed his deep concern over the present status of depletion of soil fertility and decline of ground water levels in the state.

Taking part in the deliberations, noted agricultural thinker, policy planner and Member of Parliament, Dr. M.S. Swaminathan also supported issues raised by the Chief Minister and showed his concern over lack of proper grain storage facilities in the state.  He suggested that a national policy on storage may be developed and a National Center for Sustainable Agriculture may be established at Punjab.

Dr. S. Ayyappan, Secretary, DARE and Director General, ICAR assured the Chief Minister to provide all out research support to farm diversification and new initiatives on animal husbandry and fisheries. He assured that with farmer’s access to better technology the wheat-paddy cycle can be broken to pave way for farm diversification. Dr. Ayyappan made an elaborative presentation on ‘Fisheries in Saline and Water Logged Areas’. A high-level committee headed by Chairman of State Farmers’ Commission, Dr. G.S. Kalkat has been constituted with senior officials of ICAR on the board to draft and submit an action plan within 15 days.

Dr. A.K. Singh, Deputy Director General (Natural Resource Management), ICAR; Dr. Swapan Kumar Dutta, DDG (Crop Science), ICAR and Dr. K.M.L. Pathak, DDG (Animal Science), ICAR made presentations in respective areas and suggested ways and means to improve the situation in Punjab.

(Source: NAIP Sub-Project on Mass Media Mobilization, DKMA)