Horticulture and Kisan Melas to bring more area under fruit cultivation
18th Mar, 2020
In the ‘Kisan Melas’ being organised by Punjab Agriculture University (PAU), Ludhiana, the farmers are being motivated with the theme ‘Baag Lao, Pani Bachao, Fal Khao, Sehat Banao’ (grow orchards, save water, eat fruits and gain health).
- As per the data sourced from Punjab Horticulture Department, the area under fruit cultivation was about 86,774 hectares in 2018-19.
- This is nearly 22 per cent of the total 3.81 lakh hectares under horticulture.
- Punjab produces 18.50 lakh tonnes of fruit, which is 25 per cent of the total horticulture produce.
- The state’s fruit production is below the national average.
- In Punjab, the main fruits are kinnow, sweet orange, lime, lemon, mango, litchi, guava, pear, peach, plum, grapes, ber, amla, and banana.
- Kinnow is cultivated in maximum 54,000 hectares.
- There is no policy in Punjab, which defines any minimum area under fruits.
- Punjab has a total of around 43 lakh hectares cultivable area, which includes 39.69 lakh hectares under crops and remaining under horticulture crops.
What is Horticulture?
- Horticulture, the branch of plant agriculture dealing with garden crops, generally fruits, vegetables, and ornamental plants.
- The word is derived from the Latin Hortus, “garden,” and colere, “to cultivate.”
- As a general term, it covers all forms of garden management, but in ordinary use, it refers to intensive commercial production.
- In terms of scale, horticulture falls between domestic gardening and field agriculture, though all forms of cultivation naturally have close links.
- Horticulture sector has become one of the major drivers of growth as it is more remunerative than the agricultural sector.
Efforts are taken towards increasing the area under fruits
- These fairs will certainly motivate farmers to take up fruit cultivation but bigger efforts are needed from the government and its horticulture department.
- The horticulture department is working with only half the sanctioned staff and with negligible grants.
- Currently, over a dozen high-quality varieties of citrus fruits are being prepared by Citrus Centre of Excellence, Hoshiarpur.
- The diversification will happen on the ground only if farmers who venture into fruit cultivation get all types of support in the initial years.
- Fruit cultivation needs half the water and fertilizers as compared to paddy.
- Farmers can make more money per acre annually depending upon the varieties of fruits, compared they earn the wheat and paddy crops.
National Horticulture Board (NHB)
- It was set up in 1984 on the basis of recommendations of the "Group on Perishable Agricultural Commodities", headed by Dr M. S. Swaminathan.
- Headquartered at Gurugram.
- The objective is to improve the integrated development of the Horticulture industry and to help in coordinating, sustaining the production and processing of fruits and vegetables.
Indian Institute of Horticultural Research
- The Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR) is an autonomous organization acting as a nodal agency for basic, strategic, anticipatory and applied research on various aspects of horticulture such as fruits, vegetable, ornamental, medicinal and aromatic plants and mushrooms in India.
- The institute has its headquarters in Bengaluru, Karnataka, India and is a subsidiary of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi, under the Ministry of Agriculture, India.