New Delhi, Feb 17 (ANI): Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Friday said that India earned foreign exchange of Rs.14, 000 crores from export of horticulture produce.
Addressing the National Conference on Horticulture Production and Productivity here, Pawar said that increase in production has resulted in higher per capita availability of fruits and vegetables, besides substantial increase in its exports, which has helped the country to earn foreign exchange to the tune of Rs. 14,000 crores.
Pawar further announced the formal launch of 2012 as the "Year of Horticulture" to bring horticulture development in the country to centre stage.
" While we have achieved considerable success on the production front, the supply chain issues still need to be addressed. The Vegetable Initiative for Urban Clusters is an important step in this direction. This was launched during the current year with an outlay of Rs. 300 crores under the aegis of RKVY. To start with, the Scheme is being implemented with focus on sustained supply of good quality vegetables to urban centres having a population of one million and above," he said.
"The scheme lays special emphasis on promoting protected cultivation of vegetables in green houses and shade-net houses for enhancing its productivity. Besides, formation of Farmer Producer Organizations (FPO) and linkage with financial institutions through Aggregators is an innovative feature of the Scheme, Over 62,000 farmers have already been mobilized into over 3000 Farmer Interest Groups (FIG) and 50 Farmers Producers Organizations (FPOs) under this scheme," he added
On Central Government's decision to set up National Centre for Cold Chain Development (NCCD) Pawar said, "This will go a long way in addressing the issues relating to the gaps in cold chain infrastructure in the country. While the Government of India would be infusing funds to the tune of Rs. 25 crores, much of the investments will have to come from the Industry."
"The NCCD will strive to develop standards and protocols related to cold chain besides organizing training programmes for the stake holders of the cold chain Industry. It would be relevant to add that we have set ourselves an ambitious target of 15 million MT of additional cold storage capacity during the 12th Five Year Plan as against 8.75 million MT targeted during the 11th Plan," he added.
Referring to global standards in productivity, Pawar emphasized on the need to match the world in productivity standards.
"The ICAR, SAUs and KVKs are close partners in implementation of various horticulture development schemes and their role will be critical in the coming years, particularly in development and dissemination of technology, development of new varieties, production of healthy planting material and human resource development," he said.
"Besides, we also have to strengthen our extension machinery to ensure that best horticulture practices reach the farmers. Canopy management, which is one of the most crucial element for health and productivity of horticulture crops is conspicuous by its absence. Our extension machinery must deliver on this," he added. (ANI)
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