Vegetable farming to be promoted in Punjab

Ludhiana, July 7 (PTI) Ludhiana district has been selected for promoting vegetables, in clusters of identified villages, with a budgeted lay out of Rs 12.5 crore as Punjab government is keen to promote vegetable cultivation in the state. Stating this Punjab Agriculture Director B S Sidhu said the vegetable farmers would be provided with financial support of Rs 33,000 per hectare within 40 kilometre radius. The vegetable growers could export their produce in other countries as there is enormous potential for maximising profitability because produce fetches lucrative price in foreign markets, Sidhu said, adding that the green chilies are sold at Rs 180 per kg. As per the plan, the cold stores for the handling of fruits and vegetables are being installed near Amritsar international airport with an expenditure of Rs 24 crore, he said. Sidhu further said that there is a plan for developing nutrition gardens in the villages, each garden with 10 fruit trees, seasonal vegetables and pulses. Discussing about the pesticide use in agriculture, Sidhu highlighted that 49 per cent pesticides are used on cotton and that with the growing of BT Cotton, the use has been reduced by 70 per cent. He said the farmers were being encouraged to shift to basmati cultivation instead of paddy and that in Punjab, a Basmati Development Board has been created to guide farmers to successfully grow Basmati rice.