Chandigarh: The Punjab government is likely to roll out the state's first agriculture policy by mid- December, aimed to make farming profession economically viable by suggesting measures to raise farmers' dwindling income and promote crop diversification.
"The farm is expected to come out by mid-December," official sources said. "The draft of the agriculture policy is ready and it has been circulated among experts of different fields to elicit their views and opinions so as to incorporate them in the policy," sources said.

The focus of the first agriculture policy for the state will be to recommend ways on how to improve farmers' income especially small and marginal ones who have small landholdings.

Another area of focus will be to push the state government's agenda of crop diversification so as to encourage farmers to bring down area under paddy and protect natural resources like water and soil fertility.

"It is the need of the hour to overcome the stagnation in the agriculture sector, besides improving the economic lot of rural masses by making agriculture profession remunerative and economically viable," a Punjab Agriculure Department official

The state government had formed a 10-member committee under the chairmanship of Punjab State Farmers' Commission, Chairman G S Kalkat for framing an agriculture policy.

The other committee members include BS Dhillon, Vice- Chancellor Punjab Agricultural University, Ramesh Chand,
Director of National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research, New Delhi, AS Sidhu, Director of Indian Institute of Horticultural Research Bangaluru.

Emphasising on raising farmers' income in the wake of rising input cost, Punjab Agricultural University, Director Extension, M S Gill said, "The economic condition of almost 32 percent of farmers, including small and marginal ones (who have less than 5 acres of land) is quite worse and there is an urgent need to look at increasing their income".

The average earning of a farmer in Punjab is almost Rs 50,000 per acre from wheat and paddy which is not sufficient in the wake of rising cost of production, including fertilisers.

"Even as every year, there is an increase in MSP of foodgrain crops but this increase is offset by similar or more rise in input cost. So a farmer is left with lesser returns which make this profession unviable," said Gill.


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