Himachal aims to boost horticulture economy under Rs. 1134 crore World Bank project
Shimla – With a view to increase the productivity, quality and boost the market strategy in the State, Himachal Pradesh Government has announced a Rs. 1134 crore ambitious horticulture development project with the help of World Bank.
The project will be implemented in the ratio of 80:20 respectively between World Bank and the State Government, informed the official sources.
As per the government, the main focus will be on the rejuvenation of existing apple orchards and replacement of old senile orchards with improved variety with a high-density plantation.
About 18,200-hectare new high-density orchards will be developed on private land across the State.
Under a special provision, the project to develop community irrigation facilities and approximately 19,560 hectares of the project area will be covered under this component to ensure availability of water during summer and critical stages of plant growth, said the government.
Sustainable horticulture management practices will be promoted by introducing high density, disease free plantation on an average 2400 to 2600 plants/hectare, it said.
Comprehensive training and capacity development of farmers and horticulture staff will be undertaken through exposure visits, workshops, practical demonstrations etc.
To facilitate the growers in the high production areas, farmers producers’ organizations will be formed and provided financial assistance.
The government said the agro entrepreneurs in the state will be facilitated through setting up of agro-business intelligence services and financial support under the project for efficient and online delivery of various horticulture related services to the farmers and other stakeholders.
This will help in establishing agri-business entrepreneurs in the state to support horticulture industry as a whole.
Himachal is already known as the fruit bowl of the nation and fruit production has become a major contributor to the GDP of the State and this sector generates significant on-farm and off-farm employment in the State.
Horticulture Sector as whole including fruits, flowers, and vegetables generates an annual income of around 7600 crores to the farmers in the State.
At present, the apple production per hectare in the State is 6-8 MT as compared to international standard of 35-50 MT per hectare and in some countries about 120 tonnes per hectare.
This ambitious project is first of its kind in the State and it would help the orchardists and other aspiring progressive farmers to fulfill their dreams of transforming their economy, believes the government.