Punjab sets up Bureau of Agriculture Extension and Development

Punjab government has prepared a proposal to form a new body "Bureau of Agriculture Extension and Development", to promote crop diversification and provide facilities to farmers for making agriculture a remunerative occupation. Suresh Kumar, additional chief secretary and financial commissioner, development of Punjab, said that the bureau would act as catalyst to promote agriculture research and new farm practices.

Speaking on sidelines of a seminar organized by trade body Indian Cotton Association Limited, he said the bureau would be made operational in a few days after getting go ahead from the chief minister. The bureau would make efforts help farmers have easy access to the new technology to make agriculture remunerative.

He stressed on the need for rationalizing tax structure and to prepare low-cost machinery for cotton growers to avail benefits of mechanization. The Commissioner said farmers of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan had failed to capitalize on technology upgradation due to which cotton yield in the region was much less than US and European countries. He said there should no tax on the crop inputs and capital goods for farming so that farmers and millers could benefit. The Commissioner said that since BT cotton concept had lost its sheen, there was a need to have intense research to develop new varieties of cotton.