NATIONAL NEWS DETAILS

Seeds of Wealth

Seeds of Wealth
With just 3 per cent of the country's net sown area, the state has delivered bountiful harvests year after year
advertisement


Asit Jolly
Punjab November 24, 2018
ISSUE DATE: December 3, 2018UPDATED: November 24, 2018 12:49 IST







BUMPER CROP Wheat harvesting near Amritsar-(PRABHJOT GILL)

Punjab has an inherent advantage when it comes to agriculture. Besides its fertile soils rejuvenated by rivers flowing down from the Himalayan and Shivalik ranges, the state has also benefited from an extensive canal network as well as a climate that favours multiple crops. But perhaps the single-biggest contributor is its peasantry that's been quick to adapt to new concepts.
Working with a mere 3 per cent of the country's net sown area, Punjab's farmers have successively delivered bountiful harvests that account for 19 per cent of India's wheat and 12 per cent of its paddy production. For every hectare, the Punjabi hinterland produces more than 17 quintals of wheat and 14 quintals of paddy, which is higher than the national average. Also, the agricultural GVA (Gross Value Added) in Punjab accounts for 4 per cent of the total GVA of the country. This, when the state's rural population is a mere 2 per cent of India's population.

A 2014 study by agricultural economists H.S. Shergill and Varinder Sharma estimates that between 1972 and 2012, Punjab tripled its wheat production and increased its paddy harvest by 12 times. Milk production also quadrupled. During this period, Punjab's contribution to the national foodgrains pool rose 21-fold, from 0.9 million tonnes to 19 million tonnes.




The past 19 months under the Captain Amarinder Singh-led Congress government have witnessed record wheat and paddy harvests. Foodgrains production in 2017-18 peaked to 31.7 million tonnes. This paddy season, too, central and state agencies had procured 15.03 million metric tonnes of paddy till November 11.
But despite successive bumper harvests, Punjab's farmers have remained in severe indebtedness. Much of this is consequent to crop (cotton) failures because of spurious pesticides, suspect seeds and procurement prices failing to keep pace with the cost of farm inputs.
Assuming office in March 2017, Amarinder announced a farm loan waiver, pledging to bear liabilities (up to Rs 2 lakh) that small and marginal farmers owed to cooperative banks. To date, 382,000 farmers have been provided relief totalling Rs 1,736 crore. The government has assured marginal farmers waivers worth Rs 1,185 crore owed to commercial banks. State laws have been amended whereby banks can no longer dispossess farmers of their land or have them arrested for failing to repay loans.
Admitting loan waivers are not a final solution, Amarinder says "struggling farmers nonetheless need to be supported". "There's a lasting solution in the recommendations of the M.S. Swaminathan Commission. All we really need is the large-hearted magnanimity to implement them."

TESTIMONIALS

CONTACT US

  • Plot No. 30/25, Knowledge Park - III,
    Greater Noida - 201306, Uttar Pradesh
    (NCR Delhi)-India
  • +91-120-2428800
Designed by Media Solutions