Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has ordered the concerned departments to allow harvesting and marketing of horticulture produce by farmers with necessary restrictions relating to COVID-19 precautions.
He said also said that wheat harvesting in the state will commence around mid-April on account of weather conditions but assured smooth procurement and timely payment.
The wheat harvesting is delayed due to weather conditions and is likely to start only by April 12-15 in the state, Chief Minister Singh was quoted as saying in a statement.
The Chief Minister reviewed arrangements made for harvesting potato and wheat crops.
Proper harvesting arrangements were being put in place for harvesting and storage of potato crop, said Captain Amarinder, adding that the government would also ensure smooth procurement and release of timely payment to wheat farmers.
Detailed guidelines for wheat harvesting were expected to be issued by March 31, 2020, said an official spokesperson.
The Chief Minister has also directed officials of Horticulture Department, Punjab Agro Industries Corporation and Punjab Mandi Board to work out the modalities, in coordination with the respective district officials, to allow farmers to harvest and transport their horticulture produce for seamless marketing without putting them to any more hardship.
In line with the Chief Minister's directive, the Additional Chief Secretary Development-cum-Financial Commissioner Horticulture has also issued an advisory asking all Deputy Commissioners to grant the relevant permissions or relaxation to the farm labour and farmers for harvesting and transporting the horticulture produce, including vegetables and fruits to the markets, as well as cold storage.
Director Horticulture Shailender Kaur has provided a comprehensive list of farmers who require labour for harvesting and need transportation of their produce to the markets as well as cold stores. Also, 69 FPOs comprising nearly 600 farmers have been contacted and assured full cooperation from the government in this regard.
The fruit growers, especially in the citrus belt of Hoshiarpur, Fazilka, Sri Muktsar Sahib & Bathinda districts, the potato growers in the districts of Jalandhar, Kapurthala, SBS Nagar, Moga, Ludhiana, and Bathinda districts and vegetable growers in the state were facing problems in harvesting and marketing due to the orders of the National Disaster Management Authority on March 24, regarding measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.