Social activist and film and theatre actress Shabana Azmi was conferred today with the Women Empowerment Award by the Dr A S Cheema Foundation Trust, an NGO working for the upliftment of women in agriculture. A seminar on the theme of the Green Revolution and the White Revolution and the challenges ahead was also conducted at the Tagore Theatre to commemorate the 30th death anniversary of Dr Amrik Singh Cheema.

Deepika (extreme left) trains others on the digital access information system in Chandigarh. HT-Photo

Speaking on the occasion, Azmi said that a larger number of women are employed in farms in Punjab and women’s empowerment is paramount here. She said that instead of giving subsidies on pesticides and fertilizers, the government should provide subsidies to needy organic farmers.

Paramvir Singh, Agriculture Minister, Haryana spoke about the problems facing the state in agriculture. “There is less productivity of land, and the ground water is receding, in addition to an increase in the cost factor in agriculture. Soil health cards have been issued to farmers, which certifies the health of the soil,” he said.

Minister for Animal Husbandry, Punjab, S Gulzar Singh Ranike, was also present on the occasion and said that there is a need for the country to become self sufficient in food production as the inflation in the price of food was disproportionate to the income of people. “We need to breed our own animals as dairy farming is much more remunerative then agriculture. Diversification is very important, the government is planning to set up cattle fields and 200 hospitals for cattle.”

Laxmi Behn, representing Brahma Kumari Samaj, presented her views on yogic farming and said that scientific research has proved that meditation has a positive effect on farm produce. The last hour of the seminar was devoted to personal interaction between women farmers and experts.