‘The crop sector has witnessed 1 per cent or negative growth in past years’
Emphasis laid on adopting multi-pronged approach for using improved technologies
Chandigarh: Punjab will seek a financial package of Rs. 3,500-4,000 crore from the Centre for the next five years to rejuvenate the agriculture sector in the state. “We will be seeking funds varying between Rs 3,500-4,000 crore from the Union government,” Punjab Agriculture Director B.S. Sidhu said here.
The State has prepared a plan comprising estimates for all districts which is pegged at roughly Rs 2,700 crore. “The rest of the portion will include funding required for the irrigation sector,” he said. The Chief Secretary of Punjab has convened a meeting next week for finalising the details regarding the State plan for agriculture.
As per the State plan estimates, Punjab has sought Rs. 1,579 crore for crop sector, including horticulture. For the live stock sector, the State would demand Rs. 372 crore which would include Rs. 188 crore for animal husbandry, Rs. 148 crore for diary and Rs 36 crore for fishery. To improve agriculture marketing structure of the State, it has prepared plan for Rs. 758 crore.
Among all the twenty districts, the State has sought maximum funds for Ludhiana district at Rs. 244 crore followed by Hoshiarpur at Rs. 184 crore, Bathinda at Rs. 183 crore and Rs. 168 crore for Amritsar.
Citing slowdown in agricultural growth, the officials said the crop sector which is two-third of the primary sector has witnessed just 1 per cent or even negative growth in past years.
The growth of the primary sector has slowed down from 4.6 per cent in 1980 to less than 2 per cent in 2000s.
However, there is a possibility of increasing the current productivity level by about 10 to 15 per cent through more efficient use of inputs and improving soil fertility, the plan said.
Since the State is facing problem of underground water depletion, it has laid emphasis on adopting multi-pronged approach for using improved technologies such as laser land levelling, delaying rice plantation and drip irrigation. These interventions have been provided Rs. 477 crore in the plan.
Blaming slow process of seed replacement and seed treatment for sluggish growth in crop sector, the State has asked for funds of Rs. 69 crore in order to strengthen Seed Corporation and state seed production farms. -- PTI