Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday called for tie-ups with world-class companies for technology transfer of sexed semen to improve the quality of milch cattle, especially buffaloes and cows, in the state.
He was reviewing the progress of Guru Angad Dev Veterinary & Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) and Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) here at Thapar Hall here.
The Chief Minister said the sexed semen technology would help dairy farmers ensure production of only female calves, which would eventually put an end to the practice of abandoning the male buffaloes, as that was posing a major threat to human life in the form of the stray cattle menace.
Animal Husbandry Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu apprised the Chief Minister that his department was already making concerted efforts to explore the possibility of making sexed semen technology available to the farmers through the world’s leading US-based company ‘Sexing
The Chief Minister further asked the Animal Husbandry department to collaborate with the National Dairy Research Institute, as well as world renowned Veterinary institutions and companies, to bring improvements in Embryo Transfer Technology (ETT) so as to ensure production of quality livestock. ETT could help in speeding up breed improvement, which would fetch better prices to the dairy farmers due to higher milk yield, he added.
The Chief Minister noted that livestock had a huge potential to double farmers’ income through improved efficiency of production, quality, food safety and economics. He called for a roadmap for Livestock Revolution -2030 and stressed the need for trained human resource as well as continuous research and technology backup to achieve and sustain livestock revolution.
For the development of the fisheries sector, the Chief Minister suggested that the Fisheries department, in sync with GADVASU, should work out a plan to encourage the fish farmers in southern Punjab to go for Shrimp and Pangas farming in a big way as it fetches more remunerative prices than the traditional varieties of Carp.
The Chief Minister asked the Fisheries department to procure good quality Shrimp seed from Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry as the water in the southern belt was brackish and conducive for this variety. He also asked the Fisheries department to ensure supply of certified shrimp seed, feed and marketing/processing support.
Conceding a proposal put forth by Commissioner Agriculture to allow electricity to the livestock sector on the rates at par with the agriculture sector, the Chief Minister asked the PSPCL to examine this issue and come out with financial implications in this regard.
Advisor Animal Husbandry Dr. VK Taneja suggested establishment of 4-5 state-of-the-art rendering plants across the state for organized disposal of carcass. He also stressed on the need to start mobile OPD services to provide the best diagnostic and treatment services at the doorsteps of farmers.
The Chief Minister also asked the department of Animal Husbandry to prepare an action plan to encourage the farmers to shift from traditional to allied farming as they could get better returns from dairy, bee-keeping, goatry, piggery, fishery etc. He said food safety, quality and zoonotic issues should be made an integral part of livestock food production, processing & marketing network, besides adding value to livestock waste for better economics and saving environment.
Captain Amarinder Singh said it was the need of the hour to motivate the group farmers into entrepreneurs, self-help groups & production companies for processing, value addition and marketing. He exhorted the Animal Husbandry Minister to ask his department to focus on extension services so as to provide technologies and services at the doorstep of farmers, especially the small and marginal ones. He also suggested that a cluster of 11-12 villages along with 7500 breedable bovines be adopted each by Departments of Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development, GADVASU and PAU.
On a proposal of Commissioner Agriculture to bring Milkfed under the administrative control of Animal Husbandry instead of Cooperation Department, the Chief Minister asked his Principal Secretary to get it thoroughly examined before taking a final decision.
During a presentation made by VC PAU Dr. BS Dhillon about the achievements of agri-university, he informed that the university has been adjudged the best State Agricultural University in country in 2017. While enumerating the challenges faced by the state agriculture, he said that irrigation water management was the foremost threat as the water table was depleting at a rate more than half a meter annually.
Showing concern over this issue, the Chief Minister asked PAU to focus on developing short duration varieties of paddy, water saving technologies for crop production and equally remunerative alternatives to water guzzling paddy crop.
Chairman Punjab State Farmers Commission Ajay Vir Jakhar suggested that Punjab should be developed as a potato seed hub as it was ecologically benign to produce high quality potato seeds.
VC PAU informed the meeting that the institution had already taken up with the Government of India for getting Geographical Indication (GI) for potato seeds in Doaba region. The Chief Minister said that an appropriate legislation should be brought to regulate the quality of certified seeds of potato and other vegetable crops.
The Chief Minister impressed upon the VC PAU to work on frontier technologies, viz. bio-technology, nano-technology, big data analysis and climate change, to improve the sustainability of state agriculture in future.
Captain Amarinder Singh assured the VC PAU that paucity of funds would not be allowed to hinder research and development initiatives.
Earlier, the Chief Minister also inaugurated a state-of-the-art ‘Multispecialty Veterinary Referral Hospital’ on the premises of GADVASU at a cost of Rs.14.50 crore to provide world-class medical and surgical care to small animal patients, including dogs, cats, and other small animal domestic and wildlife species.
Prominent amongst others who were present on the occasion were MP Ludhiana Ravneet Singh Bittu, MLA Surinder Dawar, Principal Secretary to CM Tejveer Singh, Secretary Agriculture Kahan Singh Pannu, Commissioner Agriculture Dr Balwinder Singh Sidhu, VC GADVASU Dr AS Nanda, Deputy Commissioner Pradeep Kumar Agrawal besides senior faculty members of PAU and GADVASU.