Chandigarh, Nov 26 (IANS) To put agriculture diversification on the fast track, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal Monday asked US−based Monsanto hybrid seed company to establish a centre in the state to conduct extensive research and development (R&D) for production of high−yielding hybrid maize seeds.
Badal said this during a meeting with a Monsanto delegation here. The delegation was led by Consuelo E Madere, vice president, global vegetables and Asia commercial.
Monsanto officials told Badal that the company had developed heat−tolerant hybrid maize varieties for the northern region, especially Punjab, to provide a viable alternative to paddy in the state. They said that efforts were being made to develop high yielding soya bean seeds to boost diversification of agriculture in the state.
The Punjab government has announced plans to reduce the area under paddy cultivation from 28 to 16 lakh hectares in a phased manner over a period of six years.
Assuring all possible assistance to the company, Badal directed the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) vice chancellor to provide technical data and logistic support to Monsanto to produce quality hybrid seeds best suited to the climatic conditions of the state.