Shimla, Feb 11 (IANS) Over 4.5 lakh fruit bearing saplings will be distributed among farmers in three months through state-run nurseries in Himachal Pradesh to promote horticulture.
Horticulture Minister Mahender Singh has directed the officials to carry out research and prepare area specific schemes to promote horticulture, an official statement said on Sunday.
It said the farmers would be provided plants after testing the soil in their respective areas. This would ensure greater income to the farmers as they would be able to grow more cash crops suited in that particular area.
The state’s diverse geo-climatic conditions are conducive for cultivation of a wide variety of fruits. A total of 35 species of fruits could be successfully grown with horticulture being a major contributor to the economy.
The government is laying special emphasis on providing appropriate prices of their produce to the horticulturists.
The government has also decided to increase procurement prices of citrus fruits under the market intervention scheme. Food processing industries will also be promoted so that optimum utilisation could be ensured of the horticulture crop.
Stress is being laid on establishing fruit base processing units such as wine and cider to ensure remunerative prices to the farmers.
The Integrated Horticulture Mission is being effectively implemented in the state for development of horticulture.
Under the mission, activities such as setting up plant nurseries, construction of water sources, increase in horticulture area, protective farming under greenhouse, organic farming, post-harvest management and food processing activities would be executed effectively.
The horticulturists are being advised to go for new plantation only after ensuring adequate water for irrigation.