No MSP on maize, can’t diversify:Farmers - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Thursday, June 13, 2019

No MSP on maize, can’t diversify:Farmers

No MSP on maize, can’t diversify:Farmers

Deepkamal Kaur

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 12

Even as the state is promoting maize as an alternative crop to paddy, farmers in the region have been complaining that the crop diversification plan will not been successful till the time they are paid an MSP of Rs 1,700 per quintal as announced by the Centre.

Farmers said they had been selling maize (without drying) for Rs 600 to 900 per quintal in the open market and for Rs 1,200-1,300 after drying. They pointed out the fact that to encourage maize cultivation, the Haryana government had recently announced an incentive of Rs 10,000 per hectare for farmers in seven dark-zone blocks of the state.

They said maize had a high potential to become an alternative crop since it remained in high demand and could be used for making as many as 100 products, including cornflour, starch, glucose, popcorns and a variety of snacks. But if the government did not pay a remunerative price, the farmers, who were diversifying towards maize, might again switch back to water-guzzling paddy and wheat.

As per the data available from the Agriculture Department, an area of 1.08 lakh hectares was under maize production in the state last year and the department has a target of getting maize sown on 1.6 lakh hectares this year.

Sutantar Airi, Director, Agriculture, claims, “We have done a lot of planning to ensure that we cross our target and get maize sown in 2 lakh hectares. We are expecting area under maize to increase in 14 of 22 districts of Punjab. We are encouraging farmers by providing Rs 9,000 per quintal subsidy on seed if they pick from any of the 16 varieties approved by the PAU. These are all high-yielding varieties that produce 25 quintals of maize per acre.”

Field Publicity Officer Naresh Gulati said, “Lucrative subsidy schemes were recently launched for portablemaize dryers (which can be tied behind tractors) and on drip irrigation for maize which can benefit farmers.”

Kirpal Singh Musapur, a farmer, says, “All schemes remain only on paper. Our biggest problem is huge variation in crop price each year, which is largely demand and supply based. Our crop does not go to mandis.”

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