Govt earmarks Rs16,840-crore for horticulture development in 12th Plan

The cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) has approved a mission for integrated development of horticulture (MIDH), with an outlay of Rs16,840 crore, as a centrally sponsored scheme for implementation during the 12th Plan.

Out of this, governments of states where the National Horticulture Mission (NHM) sub-scheme is being implemented will be contributing a sum of Rs866 crore.

Implementation of MIDH is expected to achieve a growth rate of 7.2 per cent in the horticulture sector during the 12th Plan, besides generating skilled and unskilled employment opportunities in rural and urban areas.

The scheme will cover all states and union territories of India. While the NHM scheme will be focusing on 18 states and UTs, the horticulture mission for North East and the Himalayan states (HMNEH) will cover all states in the North East and the Himalayan region of the country.

While these schemes will focus on small and marginal farmers, the National Horticulture Board (NHB) scheme will address developmental issues on commercial horticulture through entrepreneurs involving institutional financing. The National Bamboo Mission (NBM) will address developmental issues on bamboo, whereas the Coconut Development Board (CDB) schemes will focus on development of the coconut sector.

The strategy of the MIDH will be on production of quality seeds and planting material, production enhancement through productivity improvement measures along with support for creation of infrastructure to reduce post-harvest losses and improved marketing of produce with active participation of all stake holders, particularly farmer groups and farmer producer organizations.

The mission will cover about 4.5 lakh hectares under rejuvenation of senile plantation, 0.18 lakh hectares under protected cultivation besides bringing about 11 lakh hectares under new horticultural crops along with establishment of about 19,000 post harvest management and market infrastructure.

MIDH will subsume six ongoing schemes of the department of agriculture and cooperation on horticulture development, viz, three centrally sponsored schemes of NHM, HMNEH, NBM, and three central sector schemes, such as NHB, CDB and the Central Institute for Horticulture (CIH) Nagaland.

The interventions under MIDH will have a blend of technological adaptation supported with fiscal incentives for attracting farmers as well as entrepreneurs involved in the horticulture sector.

India has a wide and varied horticulture base, which includes fruits, vegetables, tuber crops, mushrooms, spices, medicinal and aromatic plants, flowers and foliage and plantation crops like coconut, areacanut, cashewnut, cocoa and bamboo. The horticulture sector has been an engine of growth for the rural economy while providing food and nutritional security to the people.

Implementation of the centrally sponsored and central sector schemes has provided necessary stimulus to the horticulture sector, which has enabled the achievement of a healthy growth rate in the sector.

It has been proposed to maintain this stimulus during the 12th Plan and also to maintain the tempo generated during the 11th Plan.

Implementation of NHM, HMNEH, NHB, CDB and CIH schemes during the 11th Plan has enabled the bringing of an additional area of 23.5 lakh hectares under horticultural crops with supporting infrastructure in term of 2306 nurseries, 78 tissue culture units, 9156 post harvest management units and 221 markets.

Horticulture production of 257.3 million MT was achieved by end of the 11th Plan.