Plans afoot to promote urban horticulture in Gulbarga division
The State government is now banking on urban horticulture to fight malnutrition in the six districts coming under the backward Gulbarga division.
The Horticulture Department is all set to launch a project aimed at promoting kitchen gardens at the household level, urban horticulture on the premises of schools and anganwadis, and community gardens with a focus on vegetable cultivation.
The main intention of the proposed project is to ensure availability of the required nutrients to people, especially children and women, on a daily basis in the districts of Bidar, Gulbarga, Koppal, Yadgir, Raichur and Bellary.
This initiative has assumed importance as the department has roped in the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR) to support this project.
Principal Secretary, Horticulture, M.K. Shankaralinge Gowda told The Hindu — after an interaction of all district-level officials of the department with farmers and scientists on the IIHR campus at Hesaraghatta on the outskirts of Bangalore on Saturday — that the IIHR would provide a kit comprising seeds of 10 important vegetables to every garden in these districts.
The vegetables, chosen based on their nutrient contents, are radish, French beans, dolichos bean (chapparada avare), tomato, brinjal, chilli, okra, palak, onion and amaranth. These vegetables varieties, developed by IIHR scientists, are disease-resistant hybrids known for their high-yielding potential and high-nutrient value.
Mr. Gowda said the department had earmarked Rs. 2.5 crore for distribution of seeds and seedlings of the vegetables in the six districts.
The IIHR had also organised a “field day” on its campus on Saturday to showcase the vegetable varieties and production technology to farmers.
Meanwhile, the department has decided to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the IIHR to use the premier organisation’s services in horticultural development. IIHR director Amrik Singh Sidhu said the State had the ideal weather to grow almost all vegetables.