The Himachal Pradesh government today decided to waive off stamp duty for taking agricultural loans in the state. It will help thousands of farmers of the state to increase production of their crops by taking loans from the banks and other financial institutions.
Raj Krishan Gaur, Minister of Agriculture, Himacahl Pradesh disclosed this while inaugurating an agricultural officers workshop on rabi crops at CSK Himachal Pradesh Agricultural University, Palampur said that the new decision of the state government was aimed at helping the farmers who constituted majority population of the state.
Â The minister informed that the government has given Rs.100 crore subsidy on various food-items available in fair prices shops to the state consumers in view of increased prices of foodstuff. As the state was still dependent on central pool for food grains so the scientists must make all-out efforts to increase the farm production to make the state self sufficient on food front. This will also help the farmers in raising their socio-economic status.
Gaur underlined the importance of striking a balance between traditional and modern thinking, planning and strategizing for farm growth. Due to varied food habits, not all the national level research projects were relevant to specific areas of the state hence the farm university and state department of agriculture will have to work as per the needs of Himachal Pradesh.
He appreciated the research and extension efforts of the university in controlling weeds, pasture improvement, etc. but asked it to make specific plans for the new emerging problems in view of global warming, ever increasing population and pressure on farm lands. Moreover, efforts will have to be made to optimally utilize available resources to improve agriculture of the state.
Â Dr.Tej Partap, vice-chancellor, said that Indian agriculture was passing through a critical juncture. As per the studies of National Farmers’ Commission, not more than 44 per cent research has reached farmers’ fields. There was need to think afresh about the food security of the state. The farmers of the state need area specific micro planning due to varied agro-ecological and geographical conditions. He also advocated making farmers self sufficient on seeds of various crops as this costly input from private companies depletes their financial resources.
Dr.Partap requested the state government to provide liberal financial grant to conduct state specific farm research.
Â Dr.J.C.Rana, Director, State department of agriculture, gave detailed information about the plans for ensuing rabi crops and availability of inputs. He said that a target of 7.28 lakh tones food production has been fixed and district level plans were being prepared to make use of central assistance. Agricultural technology management agency (ATMA) has been implemented in all the districts of the state. It will be insured that only treated seed was sown by the farmers.
Â Dr.S.C.Sharma, director of research, informed that the university has recommended two new wheat varieties HPW 249 and HPW 236 and one barley variety Gokul (HBL 391) for the rabi season. Similarly many new recommendations to control Karnal bunt in wheat, management of late blight of potato, potato tuber moth and pasture improvement have been made by the scientists. Three new farm implements have been developed to reduce drudgery of the farmers.
Â Dr.K.K.Katoch, director of extension education, detailed about new extension strategies to educate the farmers about control of serious diseases in major crops.
Around 200 farm officers and scientists deliberated on issues concerning packages of practices for wheat, barley, gram, lentil, field peas, brown sarson, raya, toria, linseed, gobhi sarson, potato, fodder crops, tea and seed production and technology.