Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday urged farmers to shift allied farming sectors, such as livestock farming, to boost their income and get out of the vicious paddy-rice circle.Inaugurating the 10th National Livestock Championship and Expo-2017, organised by the Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development and Fisheries Departments in collaboration with Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) here, Captain Amarinder said with traditional farming leading to depleting margins, allied farming had emerged as the need of the hour. He underlined the need to motivate farmers to adopt dairying and allied activities like piggery, goat rearing, bee keeping, poultry, fisheries etc to supplement their income.Citing the record 190 lakh MTs of paddy production in the current Kharif season, the Chief Minister lauded the contribution of Punjab’s progressive farmers to the annual record milk production of 120 lakh tonnes. Pointing to the initiatives being taken by his government to boost farmers’ income in the allied farming sectors, he gave the example of measures adopted to promote prawn cultivation, especially in the waterlogged Malwa belt over a stretch of 2500 acres.Captain Amarinder emphasised the need to promote horticulture as part of the state’s ambitious crop diversification programme, which was probably the only solution to improve the economic lot of beleaguered farmers on the one hand and make the state’s agricultural economy financially viable on the other.
On the occasion, the Chief Minister hoisted the Livestock Championship Flag to declare open the 5-day expo, which was started during his previous tenure from Chamkaur Sahib in 2006, when Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University was also established at Ludhiana to develop and boost research in the field of veterinary sciences and dairy development.Lauding the initiative of animal husbandry and dairy development department in holding te championship, Captain Amarinder hoped that this unique platform for the dairy farmers would go a long way in creating awareness amongst them to develop their dairy farms on modern lines by keeping high quality hybrid milch cattle, besides showcasing their elite animals to motivate their peers.Later, taking part in the deliberations in the technical session with foreign delegates from United Kingdom, United States of America, Poland and Bulgaria, Captain Amarinder assured them of his government’s full support and cooperation in providing technical know-how, besides facilitating import of sexed semen and high quality germplasm. Captain Amarinder said that Punjab had just 2% of the country’s total milch cattle population, whereas it was contributing 7% towards national milk pool.The visiting foreign delegates included Guy Kiddy, Steve Champan, Chris Jackson, Malcom VL Pearce, Jean Pierre Garnier, Jane Mathews, John Alexander, Brian Kelly, Sudarshan Girdhar, Dr. Senthilarasu Sundaram, Eamonn Staunton, Arvind Gautam and Dipankar Chakraborty.
Earlier, the Deputy High Commissioner of United Kingdom, Andrew Ayre said that UK and Punjab could work together in developing a world-class piggery sector in the state. This would help the state’s farmers to not only cater to the rising domestic demand but also look at export markets, especially in neigbouring China, which was the largest consumer of pork in the world. He pointed out that UK was known the world over not just for animal science, but its proven ability to develop and bring, with commercial partners, new products and solutions to market, especially through technological advancement and innovation in genetic improvement, nutrition, drugs, vaccines and diagnostics.In his welcome address, Additional Chief Secretary Animal Husbandry, Fisheries and Dairy Development Mandeep Singh Sandhu said that livestock farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pardesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Delhi, Assam, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pardesh etc were participating in the event. He also mentioned that the competitions would be held for 92 different classes of horses, cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat, piggery, poultry, dogs etc and prizes worth Rs 1.25 Crores will be awarded to the owners of winning animals.
Besides former Union Minister of External Affairs Preneet Kaur, the inaugural event was attended by Cabinet Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, CM’s Media Advisor Raveen Thukral, MLAs Rajinder Singh Samana, Madan Lal Jalalpur and Nirmal Singh Shutrana, Animal Husbandry Advisor Dr. PK Uppal, Director Animal Husbandry Dr. Amarjeet Singh, Director Dairy Development Dr. Inderjit Singh and Director Fisheries Dr. Madan Mohan. More than 200 companies operating in the fields of Animal Husbandry, Dairy, Fisheries, Feed and Fodder, Food processing and agriculture have been roped in by FICCI to exhibit their products and new technology for the livestock farmers. Seminars on the subjects related to Animal husbandry, dairy, piggery, goat, indigenous breeds and food processing would be organized during morning and evening sessions daily.