Badal demands maize be included in procurement list

Chandigarh, June 23 (IANS) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Tuesday asked the central government to include the maize in the procurement list.

“I have already taken up the matter with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure procurement of maize at minimum support price (MSP) through the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India,” an official statement quoting Badal as saying.

He said the state government has designated Punjab Agro as its agency for the procurement of maize on the prevailing MSP as announced by the central government.

Presiding over separate meetings of the state maize and the basmati development boards here, the chief minister asked the Basmati rice growers not to sow the ‘1509’ variety before July 15 as the pre-mature sowing of this variety hampered the yield, both in terms of quality and quantity.

At the meeting, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, S.K. Sandhu, who met a delegation of state rice millers and exporters in Amritsar last week, apprised Badal about their concerns on the probable fall in the export volumes of Basmati rice from the state during the current kharif marketing season in wake of stringent parameters imposed by Iran, the major importer of the rice variety from India.

Sandhu suggested that in order to safeguard the interest of Basmati growers, the state government should pursue the matter regarding GI (geographical indications) related to Basmati rice in Punjab with the central government.

Punjab, India’s green revolution state, is the biggest contributor to the national food grain kitty despite having just 1.54 percent geographical area of the country.

Farmers in the state mainly rely on growing wheat and paddy every year. This has led to depletion of the ground water level, especially due to paddy cultivation.

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