Govt must promote crop diversification by setting MSP for other crops as well -Manjit S Kang

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published Published on Dec 19, 2020   modified Modified on Dec 19, 2020

-The Indian Express

Farmers’ genuine concerns must be addressed as soon as possible so that they can continue producing food and fibre needed for the ever-increasing population.

In the early 1960s, near-famine conditions prevailed in India and some 10 million tonnes of wheat had to be imported from the US under the PL480 programme. The country’s situation was pejoratively dubbed “ship-to-mouth” existence, as foodgrains arriving via ships were immediately consumed.

In 1963, Norman Borlaug, who headed a wheat-improvement programme at CIMMYT (then the Rockefeller Foundation), in Mexico, was approached by visionaries such as M S Swaminathan to provide seeds of some of his high-yielding dwarf wheat varieties/populations to India. Those seeds were distributed to the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI, also called the “Pusa Institute”) in New Delhi and some of the newly created agricultural universities such as the Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, and the UP Agricultural University at Pant Nagar. From these, the institutes then selected the wheat populations. The consequent miraculous gains in wheat yield and production ushered in the “Green Revolution.”

Although the Green Revolution occurred due to a confluence of favourable government policies, efforts of agricultural scientists and the adoption of new wheat varieties/selections by farmers, the contributions of farmers of Punjab (Haryana included) stood out. Swaminathan described these farmers’ efforts as: “Brimming with enthusiasm, hard-working, skilled and determined, the Punjab farmer has been the backbone of the revolution. Farmers, young and old, educated and uneducated, have easily taken to the new agronomy.”

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The Indian Express, 19 December, 2020,

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