India to hold horticultural fairs in Gulf: minister

India is planning to organise horticulture fairs in the Gulf region to showcase a variety of its produce and help boost exports, union minister of state for agriculture K V Thomas said in Bangalore today.

The Gulf region offers a huge export potential, he told reporters after inaugurating the 'Orange Festival' at the 3rd Inter-State Horticulture Fair at Lal Bagh, the famous botanical gardens.

A total of Rs1,200 crore has been allocated under the National Horticulture Mission, out of which Rs700 crore has already been spent by different states, Thomas said. "On the basis of the amount spent by the state, the union government will release additional funds if required," he said.

The government has been conducting horticulture fairs in different parts of the country to provide farmers a common platform to exchange know-how about the latest technologies, the minister said.

To a question on diseases afflicting certain fruits, including orange, he said, the matter has been referred to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

India is one of the world's biggest producers of horticultural products, accounting for about 11 per cent of the world's vegetables and 15 per cent of fruits, he said.