June 12, 2019 3:21:41 am
The area under horticulture has doubled in 13 years in Haryana while the production of fruits has gone up by three times in the same period. The production of vegetables too has more than doubled in the same period in the state.
Seeking to give a boost to the horticulture activities, the state government has increased its budget for the sector for the 2019-20 fiscal year to Rs 523 crore, more than double of Rs 210 crore in 2014-15. The government is aiming to double the area under horticulture by 2030 while increasing the production to thrice that of the current figure.
Haryana Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Om Prakash Dhankar told The Indian Express that they were working on multiple strategies to increase the production of fruits and vegetables with introduction of more excellence centres in horticulture sector and Bhavantar Bharpayee Yojana (BBY) scheme for vegetables.
Dhankar said that they were developing 340 horticulture villages and 140 clusters, which will offer all facilities to the farmers including facility to sell farm produce. Director General, Haryana Horticulture Department, Arjun Singh Saini said they have trained farmers for protected cultivation of vegetables and fruits in the state. “Now, we will focus more on increase in production,” said Saini.
In 2004-05, the area under horticulture was just 4.04 per cent of the total geographical area of the state. It increased to 8.17 per cent in 2017-18. The production of fruits was 7.93 lakh metric tonne in 2017, a major jump from 2.32 lakh metric tonne in 2004-05. The production of vegetables increased to 71.40 lakh metric tonne in 2017-18 compared to 29.80 lakh metric tonne 13 years back.
In fact, the state government is keen on implementing the Beijing model to provide fruits, milk and vegetables to Delhi just like the China’s capital that developed a peri-urban agriculture zone on its periphery. Dhankar, who had visited China in 2015 to study the Beijing model, believes that it was easier to provide fruits, vegetables and milk to Delhi from Haryana than to the far flung areas of the country. Dhankar has been stating that an annual turnover of Rs 3,600 crore takes place in the International Mandi of Delhi and the farmers of Haryana can reap its benefit by selling their produce there.
Aiming to safeguard the interests of vegetable farmers, the Haryana government in 2018 had launched BBY as an MSP scheme for four crops – tomato, onion, potato and cabbage. The MSP in this case, unlike for other crops, is meant to cover only input costs and not provide any margin. By enabling farmers to recover basic production cost, the scheme intends to prevent them from throwing their produce on roads in the event of a price crash.
Dhankar says that the scope of compensation for these vegetables will be increased by Re one each per kilogram. In case of potatoes and tomatoes, it will be increased to Rs 5 per kg while offering Rs 6 per kg for cabbage and onion. He said that in the first year of BBY, 10,579 acre land was covered under the scheme and 4,435 farmers were registered, who were compensated with about Rs 12 lakh. In the second year, 20,346 farmers had registered 66,250 acres and they were compensated with about Rs 9.40 crore. Under this scheme, provision of budget amounting to Rs 25 crore has been made for ongoing financial year.
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