Chuharwali (Jalandhar): In a major leap forward towards promoting agro-based Industry in the state, the Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today dedicated the state-of-the Art Cannery set up by Punjab Markfed to the nation, here today.
Set up with a twin objective of benefiting the farmers of the state on one hand and giving major fillip to the industry in the state on the other this cannery has been set at a cost of approximately Rs.50 crore. The new Unit has tripled the production capacity with regard to the old Unit and it was equipped to produce 66 lakh cans and 48 lakh pouches of Ready to Eat Food per annum. In addition, it would produce 5.60 lac cans of Fruit in Syrup and 18 lac bottles of Ketchup and Jam every year. Likewise, the Spices Grinding Line would produce 11 lakh pouches of various spices every year. The Plant was fully automated with State of the Art grinding and packaging lines making it one of the most advanced Plants of its kind in the country.
Addressing the gathering on the occasion, the Chief Minister recalled the glorious contribution of Markfed, which had started as a small entity in the year 1954 with a total capital of Rs.50,000 but today it was one of the leading corporates with a business turnover of more than Rs.12,000 crore per annum. Lauding this premier cooperative of the state, Mr. Badal said that much of its activities were farmer oriented and Markfed has been at the fore front in the supply of DAP, Urea, Agro Chemicals, Cattlefeed, Vegetable Oils and other products to farmers across the state in a time bound manner at an affordable cost. Congratulating Markfed for establishing a State of the Art Cannery Unit, he exhorted the Corporates to set up Agro based Units in the State on similar lines so as to bail out the farmers from the current agrarian crisis.
The Chief Minister said that Markfed products were globally popular which speaks volumes about their quality and hygiene. He said that nearly 88% of the production of the old Markfed Canneries was exported to the highly developed nations such as United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, European nations and Gulf. Mr. Badal hoped that now these internationally established products would be marketed on a much larger scale in order to provide top quality Ready to Eat products to the consumers both within the country and abroad.
Batting for proper marketing mechanism for the maize crop, the Chief Minister said that he would take up this issue with the Government of India (GoI) for giving MSP on it like wheat and paddy. He said that for improving farm income, diversification of agriculture along with value addition of produce was essential for which state Agriculture Department has identified Maize as alternative crop to break the rotation of wheat and paddy, making agriculture not only more sustainable but also environment friendly. He said that under its flagship program of crop diverfsication, the state government has decided to increase area under Maize by reducing the area under rice cultivation. However, Mr. Badal said that such a target would be difficult to achieve unless Government of India (GoI) decides to procure maize at a minimum support price from the farmers.
The Chief Minister, who also laid the foundation stone of Markfed Honey Processing Plant, while underscoring the need for diversification of agriculture, exhorted the farmers to adopt allied farming activities such as goatery, piggery, Bee Keeping and others to supplement their income. He said that the basic motive of establishing a 3000 MT Honey Processing Unit of such a large production capacity in the Cooperative Sector was to benefit the farmers and enhance the production of the Honey. Mr. Badal also called upon the farmers to come forward and adopt Bee Keeping since it was financially remunerative on account of generous subsidy being provided in this regard by the State Government.
The Chief Minister was accompanied by Chief Parliamentary Secretaries Mr. Pawan Teenu and Mr. KD Bhandari, Chairman Marked Mr. Jarnail Singh Wahid, Chairman District Planning Committee Tarn Taran Mr. Ravinder Singh Brahmpura, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Mr. SK Sandhu, MD Markfed Mr. Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, Commissioner Jalandhar Division Mr. R. Venkatratnam, Deputy Inspector General of Police Mr. Kunwar Vijay Partap and Deputy Commissioner Mr. KK Yadav.