The Punjab Government led by the Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has made a huge leap in the direction of boosting farmers income and bringing crop-diversification. In the latest announcement for the horticulture sector in the upcoming 2023-24 budget Rs.253 crores have been allocated for the sector, which is more than double of the previous budget.It includes Rs.40 crore for the development of 5 new horticulture estates in districts Ludhiana, Gurdaspur, Patiala, Bathinda and Faridkot.
Disclosing this, the Food Processing Minister Chetan Singh Jauramajra said that in addition to creating infrastructure- special attention is given to financial support and diversification through introduction of 2 schemes- The first being ‘Bhaav Antar Bhugtaan Yojana’- a new risk mitigation scheme.
Considering the sensitive nature of horticulture crops and low shelf life. This scheme would act as a cushion for the farmers and give them confidence to adopt horticulture on a larger scale.The second scheme is for Diversification through flower seed production.
Floriculture is an upcoming and profitable industry, and its promotion can help to bring the state out of the wheat-paddy cycle thereby improving land-use and conserving the already depleting ground-water reserves.
In an effort to create new markets, Punjab has become India’s first state to introduce certification, traceability, and block-chain technology in tissue-culture potato plants. This benefits not just the farmers of Punjab, but the whole country as it helps in creation of supply of high quality and disease-free potatoes for farmers in local and distant domestic markets.
Lastly, to improve the livelihood of farmers by cultivation of high-value crops- a new variety of Apple is created through tissue-culture technology by Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar.
This variety is specifically designed to suit the climatic conditions of Punjab for cultivation and will give the farmers access to an entirely new commodity and market to tap into and profit by.
These initiatives can be expected to benefit the horticulture farmers through improved financial support, better infrastructure, developing new markets within and outside the state and a support system to adopt and expand horticultural cultivation, added Jauramajra.