Agri experts today called on farmers to market their own produce and self-production of seeds to cut down on the cost of agricultural production. Punjab being one of the highest potato producing states, its farmers can considerably add to their income through this crop, they said. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), in association with the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, the Government of India, & Mehram Publication, organised a session on ‘Varietal Improvement, Storage and Marketing of Potatoes’ as part of the Innovative Farmers’ Meet here. Paramjit Singh Brar, Chief Agricultural Officer, Ludhiana, called on the farmers to produce seeds for cultivation themselves. He also exhorted them to market their agricultural produce and diversify into producing agri-related products like corn, vegetables and milk products to sell in the market. He said, “Farmers can easily devote a part of their land to produce seeds for their next crop be it paddy or wheat. This will save them a lot of money on buying readymade seeds from the market and thus add to their profit.”
“Farmers should not shy away from marketing their agricultural produce to earn more profit and thus increase their income. We have a very hard-working farming community, which produces more and more every year but is shy to market it directly. For this they can connect with technical experts to learn how to effectively market their produce and also produce agri-products to add to their income,” he said. Satpal Sharma, from Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, said, “After paddy and wheat, farmers of Punjab produce large quantity of potatoes. At present 20 lakh hectare land in the country is under potato cultivation while 90,000 hectare land in Punjab is under potato cultivation which leads to production of 23 lakh tonnes potato.”
Punjab also sells 75 per cent of potato seeds to the rest of the country, he said.
If farmers grow potato seeds on even one fourth of the land, then we need only 15 lakh ton potato crop with seed, he said.
“We need to grow and market potato as seed for which need is for the agricultural scientists, industry and farmers to come together. Potato can help farmers earn very high profit,” he said. Ramandeep Singh from Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana, said, “Packaging of agricultural produce holds key to sell agri produce more effectively and earn more. Farm market concept needs to be propagated in Punjab more effectively.” Farmers especially those having their land along the highways can also sell their produce better, he said. Self-marketing can help farmers increase their income, he added.