Chandigarh, July 17, 2018 ( By TNL Bureau): Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday discussed a series of measures with the Netherlands ambassador to India for the promotion of farm diversification in the state.
Dairy, animal husbandry and floriculture were some of the key areas in which the two sides agreed to explore cooperation, along with the promotion of piggery and goatery, an official spokesperson disclosed after a luncheon meeting between the Chief Minister and a Dutch delegation, led by Ambassador Alphonsus Stoelinga.
The Chief Minister sought from the Netherland exchange embryo transfer technology and supply sexed semen doses to improve the quality of livestock for improving and augmenting milk production by dairy animals. He suggested the establishment of units by leading Dutch milk processing companies in order to supplement the income of Punjab’s farmers, said the spokesperson.
The Chief Minister deputed ACS Development as nodal officer to coordinate with the Dutch embassy to chalk out a comprehensive action plan on the various issues discussed during the meeting. The Chief Minister also suggested constitution of an expert group comprising a representative from the Netherlands embassy, along with ACS Animal Husbandry and ACS Development, to further action upon the proposals. The proposed group would be tasked with suggesting ways and means implement farm diversification, and to recommend a viable technology for scientific disposal of stubble or other bio-wastes after studying the prevalent practices followed in the Netherlands.
Concerned over the high sugar content in the local production of potatoes, the Chief Minister asked the visiting Ambassador to explore collaboration with some eminent potato growers and researchers to improve the quality of the produce.
The Dutch Ambassador assured Captain Amarinder Singh of full support and cooperation in the state’s efforts to promote crop diversification. Pointing out that a Dutch company – Royal De Hues – had already set up a facility to produce cattle and animal feed at Rajpura, he requested the Chief Minister for incentives to enhance the production capacity of the existing plant and expansion of operations into other parts of the state.
The Chief Minister assured the visiting delegation that he would personally take up the issue of starting special air cargo flights from the Amritsar and Mohali international airports the Netherlands for facilitating mutual trade between in flowers, fruits, vegetables, dairy products etc.
Recalling his age-old ties with the Netherlands, where his father Late Maharaja Yadvindra Singh had served as the Indian Ambassador back in 1974, the Chief Minister said, as a result of this association, he was well versed with the geography, topography of the country, as well as its climatic conditions and the enormous contribution of dairy, floriculture and horticulture to its GDP.
Taking part in the deliberations, Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal pointed out that the state agriculture department, in collaboration with the Dutch government, had already established a Centre of Excellence (CoE) in vegetables in Jalandhar, while another in floriculture in Doraha (Ludhiana) was in advanced stages of implementation.
The meeting was attended, amongst others, by Media Advisor to CM Raveen Thukral, Principal Secretary to CM Tejveer Singh, ACS Development Viswajeet Khanna, ACS Animal Husbandry G Vajarlingam and Punjab State Farmers’ Commission Chairman Ajayvir Jakhar. The visiting delegation included Agriculture Counsellor Wouter Verhey, and Deputy Councillor for Agriculture, Nature & Food Quality India and Sri Lanka, Anand Krishnan.