Nawanshahr: Dr Ramesh Chand, an eminent Agricultural Scientist of the rank and status of a Union Minister of State and member of Task force on agriculture development under Niti Aayog, visited a private farm, Green Valley Stevia Farm at Pojewal near here on Friday to enquire in detail about Stevia farming to bring this crop in the main stream of agriculture in India.
As per the Stevia Farm Owner Rajpal Singh Gandhi who provided all the facts and information on Stevia Farming to the visiting dignitary, besides showing him the processing unit of making stevia powder – a zero calorie natural sweetener from stevia dry leaves. He said, his is the first unit in India supported under innovation scheme by Dept of Biotechnology under Ministry of Science and Technology, New Delhi.
Rajpal Singh Gandhi also said that he apprised Dr Ramesh Chand about the basic requirements for stevia development in India. In order to bring stevia crop on the mandate of country’s agricultural universities.
He said he stressed the need for providing soft loans and not subsidy to farmers, who were willing to adopt this crop. Gandhi added that, he also urged for bringing stevia sweetener in the country under the natural sweetener category by the Food Safety Standards Authority of India as it was an agricultural like sugar. Stevia sweetener should be exempt from state tax VAT as in the case of sugar to promote its farming in the country, he said. According to Gandhi, stevia crop had the potential of solving many agriculture related problems also as irrigation water requirement for this crop was only 10 per cent as compared to other traditional crops and can be easily grown organically. Stevia is a zero calorie natural sweetener which is becoming much popular in the world being a diabetic friendly sweetener and as a sugar replacer.
Need is for providing soft loans and not subsidy to farmers, who were willing to adopt this crop Rajpal Singh Gandhi (standing in the middle) of Green Valley Stevia Farm, Pojewal showing his stevia crop to Dr Ramesh Chand (clean shaven), an eminent scientist under the Niti Aayog on Saturday.
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