‘Farmers growing quality fruits can expect good returns'

Higher Education Minister V.S. Acharya said on Saturday that there was a huge potential for horticultural crops in the three coastal districts.

He was speaking after inaugurating a workshop on management of post-harvest horticultural crops organised by the Karnataka Horticulture Federation (KHF), here.

Mr. Acharya said farmers in Udupi district traditionally depended only on paddy. But growing paddy was becoming difficult as there was a shortage of farm workers. Many farmers had shifted to arecanut and coconut cultivation. But arecanut and coconut were subject to price fluctuations. Cultivation of vegetables and fruits suited this region. All it required was testing of soil. Besides, fruits and vegetables were in demand throughout the year. Farmers growing quality fruits and vegetables could expect good returns. So far, there was not much encouragement in this direction, he said. He said but now the KHF, through its Horticultural Producers' Cooperative Marketing and Processing Societies (HOPCOMS), was encouraging farmers. Fruits and vegetables grown by farmers were being sold at HOPCOMS outlets.

“A heartening feature is that young farmers are more interested in cultivating fruits and vegetables,” he said. This interest of young farmers was visible in the demands for stalls to market their vegetables and fruits. “I request the CMC and APMC to provide outlets to them at a concessional cost,” he said. Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa announced last year that an agricultural college would be opened on the premises of the zonal agricultural research station at Brahmavar in Udupi district this year. There was a proposal to start a college in Brahmavar and Haveri. But now it had been decided to start an agricultural college in Haveri this year and in Brahmavar next year. The college in Brahmavar would have a separate department for horticulture, Dr. Acharya said.

KHF vice-president Laxminarayana Udupa, ZP president Katapady Shankar Poojary, Udupi Taluk Panchayat president Devadas Hebbar, Udupi CMC president Kiran Kumar, and Udupi APMC president K. Suresh Nayak were present.

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