‘New Zealand committed to help farmers of Punjab’

My personal commitment to Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal is that New Zealand will be committed to improve efficiency and productivity of the farmers in the state by providing them technology transfer in agriculture...

Written by Harpreet Bajwa | Chandigarh | Published:February 28, 2009 4:19 am

“My personal commitment to Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal is that New Zealand will be committed to improve efficiency and productivity of the farmers in the state by providing them technology transfer in agriculture,horticulture and dairy sector,” said Dr Richard Worth,Minister of Crown,New Zealand.

In an exclusive interview with Newsline,Worth said: “We can contribute a lot to agri-technology as our farmers became self-sufficient after the government stopped giving them any subsidy a few years ago. According to our estimates,some 20 per cent of the perishable items in India are affected due to lack of technology. We can help here with our advance technology which ensures more storage life for vegetables and meat products.”

Worth said Tata,Kingfisher and Reliance are household names in New Zealand. “Ten per cent of the total population of our country,around two million,comprises Indians. Of this,10 per cent,around 1.22 lakh,are Punjabis. Our embassy in Delhi issued 30,000 visitor visas last year and of this,50 per cent were from this region. These exclude the student and business visas.”

“Our visa rate is 88 per cent. This will also improve in the coming days with more student and visitor visas. We will be making it easy to get visitor visa as the rules will be relaxed and same will be done for business visas to attract more investment,especially in infrastructure,construction,telecom,energy and tourism.” he said.

“For students who want to study in New Zealand,the Civil Aviation sector has a lot of scope. One can get a Commercial Pilot Licence in our country in only eight months at the cost of 70,000 New Zealand Dollars,around Rs 18 lakh,from Southern Institute of Technology Civil Aviation Limited,” he added.

Worth said: “We have asked the government to start a direct flight between India and Auckland and also an India Trade Centre in Auckland.”

Waitkere,Amritsar declared sister cities
A new chapter began in the bilateral relations between Punjab and New Zealand on Friday with the two Memorandums of Understanding — declaring Waitkere and Amritsar as sister cities and pilot training to students from Punjab in New Zealand. In a formal ceremony held on Friday,representatives of Punjab and New Zealand signed two MoUs in the presence of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and a New Zealand delegation led by their Minister for Crown Dr Richard Worth. Badal said Punjab and New Zealand,both agricultural driven economies,can have synergies in the area of dairy development and civil aviation. He said a lot of Punjabis have migrated to New Zealand and the country has become a second home to them. He added that the Punjab government will soon enter into an MoU on dairy sector to gain from the advanced research done by New Zealand in dairy development.

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