Ruchika M Khanna
Tribune News Service
Mohali, December 6
For the first time, climate sustainable agriculture was the focus of policy makers, agriculturists, agriculture scientists and the agro industry in Punjab, rather than just value addition or increasing farmers’ incomes.
As all stake holders in the agriculture sector got together during a session on “Agri and Food Processing: Value Addition to Agri Economy” during the second day of Progressive Punjab Investors Summit, they underlined the need to have climate sustainable agriculture as climate change crisis looms large, threatening the production of food.
The summit saw an engaging discussion by experts on traceability of seeds; use of artificial intelligence; reducing use of chemicals and switching to natural farming techniques; and increasing rotational crops.
Vishwajit Khanna, Additional Chief Secretary, Development, Punjab, said that huge ecological and environmental problems are emerging because of stubble burning of paddy and due to extensive use of water for paddy cultivation.
“We need to wean away farmers from water guzzling paddy and introduce farmers to high-value crops while the agro industry too upgrades to utilise the crops they grow,” he said.
“Because of climate change, climate resilient agriculture is the next big challenge and a big business opportunity which the industry can leverage,” said eminent agriculture scientist Prabhakar Rao. He also underlined the need to go in for indigenous seeds that would be more suitable to the states’ climate.
Neel Kingston, executive Vice-President, ITC, said that they too were approaching the climate change challenge head-on by having several interactive sessions with farmers, by showcasing and propagating the use of climate and pest-resilient crop practices. Other panelists - Ajay Vir Jakhar, Chairman, Punjab Farmer Commission; Ingio Anton, MD, CN IIFCO; and Prashant Vatkar, CEO, Godrej Tyson; too spoke on the issue.
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