Round bananas or elongated oranges, anyone? Or a juicier
variety of apple, sweeter litchi or more phosphorus-rich
banana? The day is not far when such innovative products
might hit the market, provided biotechnology is used extensively
in the horticulture sector of the country.
J P Negi, managing director, National Horticulture Board
(NHB), The use of biotechnology in the arena of
horticulture can have immense benefits. It can lead to
increase in yield and improve the quality of products.
With the use of biotechnology, one can change the colour,
size and shape and also the taste and sweetness of fruits
and this can yield rich dividends.
who recently attended the international convention and
exhibition on the agro and food processing industry
Agri-Fare 2002 held at Ahmedabad, says that so
far, the area under horticulture is only 157 lakh hectares
out of a total 1,655 lakh hectares of land under agriculture
is only 9.5 per cent, rues Negi. He adds that out
of the total 1,525 lakh tonnes of horticulture products,
fruits account for only 454 lakh tonnes, while vegetables
account for 939 lakh tonnes.
country has about 138 lakh hectares of cultivable wasteland,
which has, so far, remained without use. The government
could, at least, encourage afforestation on this land
in order to create job opportunities for locals.
also appeals for increase in the allocation of funds for
the horticulture sector. Moreover, the investment
made by the private sector in agriculture is not encouraging.
It stands at just Rs 757.8 crore all over the country.
There is potential for much more. We are trying to get
entrepreneurs to invest in post-harvest management, establishment
of a cold chain and proper refrigeration facilities in
order to make all sorts of fruits and vegetables available
throughout the country.
is to healthier times.