Horticulture Development Project
Horticulture is a major contributor to the economy of Himachal Pradesh, which can cultivate a wide varieties of fruits and vegetables due to its diverse climate and topography, and measures to expand the sector are on, an official statement said on Sunday.
More than 35 species of fruits could be successfully grown in the state, said Horticulture Minister Mahender Singh Thakur.
Specialists will prepare specific plans for different regions, keeping in view the agro-climatic conditions and to ensure optimum survival of plants, he said, adding that the Horticulture Department would develop nurseries as per demand of the farmers and according to the climatic conditions.
This hill state is one of India's major apple-producing regions, with more than 90 per cent of the produce going to the domestic market. Apples alone constitute 84 per cent of the state's fruit economy of Rs 3,500 crore ($520 million).
The minister said the World Bank-aided Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Development Project of Rs 1,134 crore is being implemented in the state.
Apple, pear and walnut plants will be distributed among farmer clusters, whereas 14,406 mango, litchi, guava and citrus fruits plants have been sold amongst 28 subtropical clusters in the state under this project, the statement said. Training has been imparted to 58 officers under this project, while experts from New Zealand have trained 320 officers and 501 farmers.
The state has also implemented Integrated Horticulture Mission, under which nurseries and greenhouses are coming up, water sources constructed to increase horticulture area, while organic farming, post-harvest management and food-processing are also being focused on.
The state is working to upgrade and establish new cold storage stores and packing houses.
The Asian Development Bank-aided projects amounting to Rs 1,688 crore and Rs 423 crore have also been approved for development of subtropical fruits and mushroom, respectively.
By BOA Bureau