Horticulture has been major contributor to the economy of the State and due to diverse climatic condition and topography, Himachal Pradesh is capable of cultivating wide varieties of fruits and vegetables. More than 35 species of different fruits could be successfully grown in the State.
Horticulture Minister Mahender Singh Thakur said that the State Government would prepare a work plan for ensuring development of horticulture in different parts of the State. The specialists will go to the field and prepare specific plans for different regions, keeping in view agro climatic conditions of the area. It will also be ensured that optimum survival of plants was achieved in the areas planned by the horticulture officers. He said that to achieve this goal the Horticulture department would develop nurseries as per demand of the farmers and according to the climatic conditions of the region.
He said that the World Bank aided Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Development Project of Rs. 1134 crores is being implemented in the state. Fruit plants of apple, pear and walnut will be distributed among farmer clusters whereas 14,406 plants of mango, litchi, guava and citrus fruits have been sold amongst 28 subtropical clusters in the state under this project.
Training has been imparted to 58 officers under this project to upgrade their knowledge in the field of horticulture. Besides, international experts from the New Zealand also imparted training to 320 horticulture officers and 501 farmers.
The State Government have also effectively implemented Integrated Horticulture Mission in the State for integrated development of horticulture. Under the Mission, various activities such as plant nurseries, construction of water sources and increase in horticulture area, protective farming under green house, organic farming, post harvest management and food processing activities would be executed effectively. Several projects are being implemented under National Agriculture Development Scheme for research and development of horticulture.
The State Government is also laying special emphasis on providing appropriate price of their produce to the horticulturists. Apple, Mango and citrus fruits were being procured under the Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) in the State. Stress was also being laid on establishing fruit base processing units such as wine and cider to ensure remunerative prices to the farmers.
The State Government in view to increase in the fruit production in the state over the past few years is working to upgrade and establish new cold storage stores and packing houses in the state. The Government has also decided to increase procurement prices of citrus fruits in the State under market invention scheme (MIS). Food processing industries will also be promoted in the State so that optimum utilization could be ensured of the horticulture crop.As many as 54 procurement centres would be opened in different parts of the State, which would remain functional from 21st November, 2019 to 15th February, 2020.
Keeping in view immense scope of floriculture in the state, the State Government was promoting floriculture in a big way. Green houses would be constructed since floriculture could prove an effective source of self-employment. One cannot overrule the possible loss to horticulture crops due to adverse climatic conditions and change in environment. Thus, the horticulturists are being advised to go for new plantation only after ensuring adequate water for irrigation. The state government has also directed the officers of the department to submit a report regarding survival rate of plants planted by the farmers.
The state government has launched new schemes like Pushp Kranti Yojna, Mukhya Mantri Madhu Vikas Yojana, Mukhya Mantri Green House Renovation Scheme and installation of anti-hail nets to give boost up horticulture sector and facilitate the farming community. Beside this, Asian Development Bank aided projects of amounting to Rs. 1688 crores and Rs. 423 crores have also been approved for the state for development of subtropical fruits and mushroom in the state respectively.
The State government has also launched m-kisan programme to facilitate the farming community and farmers have been registered under this scheme to help them in solving their day-to-day farming problems.