The Punjab government-owned Punjab State Co-operative Supply and Marketing Federation (Markfed) yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Swiss agribusiness company Syngenta to open three farmers training centres in the state, aimed to provide quality fertilisers and agro chemicals and training to farmers. The state's co-operation minister Kanwaljit Singh attended the pact signing..
Markfed and Syngenta would jointly open three such centres by the name of 'Krishi Shakti' at Gidderbaha, Rajpura and Jalandhar, informed an official spokesman of Markfed. Besides, both of them would also work upon enhancing the production of rice and wheat, major crops of Punjab, in fives districts including Nawanshehar, Hoshiarpur, Ropars, Jalandhar and Fathegarh Sahib districts.
''India is an agriculture-based economy where 70 per cent of the people are directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture. Despite this, we are facing the maximum challenges in the field of agriculture, so such a collaboration with a global player was our utmost requirement,'' the minister told reporters at Chandigarh yesterday.
Giving more details about the MoU, Captain Singh said under this productivity enhancing campaign, two clusters of ten villages each would be identified for educating the farmers for this purpose.
"Each member farmer of the society will be contacted by the team of Markfed and Syngenta officials along with agriculture experts to disseminate the technical information ton how to improve yield," he said.
He said Markfed has been given the mandate of making available best quality agro chemicals both from own formulations as well as best brands of market at the door steps of farmers at affordable prices.
Markfed MD G S Grewal on this occasion said Markfed and Syngenta could also contribute towards extension work and educate farmers regarding safe and judicious use of pesticides.
"The proposal is to set up a joint sale and service outlet where the farmers will be provided training for various diseases and attacks of pest and insects on crops," he said.
''Punjab is an important state for us. We will share the best available technology and know-how of Syngenta with the state. Our main focus will be educating farmers about the judicious use of chemicals and fertilizers,'' said John Alkin, global chief operating officer of Syngenta. ''In 2007, we made sales worth $270 million in India.''
With Punjab having an agrochemical market size of Rs500 crore, Syngenta has 18 per cent market share and plans to take its total business to Rs 110 crore by 2010.
It has 24 per cent market share in wheat herbicides and 19 per cent in rice herbicides.
Markfed and Syngenta started working together in 2005-06 with a total business volume of Rs 13 lakh which has now jumped to Rs 10.42 crore.