16 June, SAS Nagar
The objective of the session was to seek inputs from the Agriculture & Food Processing Industry representatives, for incorporating them in the Punjab’s Industrial & Business Development Policy.
Mr. Karan Gilhotra, Co-Chair, Punjab State Chapter and Founder, Plaksha University while delivering opening remarks stated that the Government is making all efforts to enhance farmers income but due to lack of an uninterrupted supply chain and low level of value addition, the farmers are unable to realize the true value of their produce. It is here that food processing industry can play a critical role in providing better market access and stability for our farmers.
Mr. R S Sachdeva, Chair, Punjab State Chapter and MD of Hitech Industries Ltd, in his Welcome Address apprised about the Agri events organized by PHD Chamber to support and help the farmers. He highlighted the vision of CM Punjab of making Agriculture Sector viable and profitable and stated that there is a high need of crop diversification for the overall development of farmers.
Chief Guest of the Session, Mr. Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, IAS, Secretary- Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Government of Punjab briefed the participants on the mandate received from the Chief Minister of Punjab which included identifying the major products produced in various districts of Punjab based on which incentives will be framed for farmers & Industry. He mentioned Food Department will act as a Nodal Officer for the policy suggestions. He further advised the participants to submit their recommendations so that an industry-specific policy may be developed.
Participants expressed several concerns that shed light on the issues confronting the industry. The highlighted challenges included the need for crop diversification, depletion of ground water, insufficient cash flow with farmers, inadequate production & reduced MSP for Basmati rice in Punjab, and paddy shortage.
One of the major issue of concern was the use of unregistered pesticides, which resulted in the return of shipments from Europe, the United States, and Central Asia.
Furthermore, high logistics costs, a non-functional cold storage facility in Amritsar results in delayed shipments. There is need to educate farmers on abstaining from the use of pesticides & Chemicals, Creation of an integrated data hub for crops, testing laboratories and crop insurance were some of the issues confronting the Industry at large.
Mr. Sanjiv Singh, Co-Chair, Punjab State Chapter & MD, Gilard Electronics Pvt. Ltd. Mohali thanked the esteemed Guests & participants of the Session appreciated the mandate given by the Hon’ble CM, Punjab. He mentioned that it was pertinent to identify economy of scales, niche area & build a smooth supply chain.
Dr. Abhinav Trikha, IAS, Director, Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Government of Punjab and Dr. Anjuman Bhaskar, Joint Director, Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Government of Punjab were also present on the occasion. Industry Members from Agriculture & Food Processing sector from different districts of Punjab participated.