Initiatives taken under National Horticulture Mission

With the area of cultivation of horticulture crops and the yield increasing in the district, steps have been taken to create better infrastructure under National Horticulture Mission (NHM) to preserve the produce for a longer period and to prevent wastage.

The district produces 6 lakh tonnes of horticulture products, including mango, banana, lemon, amla, cashew, flowers. These crops are cultivated on 32,080 hectares. Hence, it has become imperative for the farmers to have a sound knowledge of post-harvest management techniques, according to sources in the Department of Horticulture sources. Moreover, creation of modern facilities to preserve the horticulture produce will ensure in getting a better price for the products.

When the NHM was introduced in the district in 2005-2006 to give an impetus to horticulture production, the crops were cultivated only on 8,000 hectares. In the past eight years, it has increased to 32,080 hectares, thanks to attractive subsidy schemes of the NHM.

As the production has increased manifold, the NHM has promised to give financial assistance for creating modern infrastructure to preserve the produce until the producer gets the right price. For the packing of horticulture produce in a dedicated packing house, the NHM promises subsidy of up to 1.50 lakh and a grant of Rs. 6 lakh for establishing a pre-cooling unit. For the purchase of mobile pre-cooling unit, the NHM would allow a subsidy of Rs. 9.60 lakh.

Above all, the NHM extends a special assistance up to Rs. 1.20 crore for constructing cold storage or ripening chamber, which could be jointly established by the farmers from a particular area or region. After preserving their produce in the cold storage for a while, they can sell the produce once the market price reaches the maximum.

For the low-energy cooling chambers, preservation units, and zero-energy cool chambers, the NHM offers a 50 per cent subsidy. To encourage mushroom culture, the programme gives an assistance of Rs. 25 lakh for establishing mushroom production and training unit and the assistance would be Rs. 7.50 lakh for creating the spawn production unit. A subsidy of Rs. 10 lakh would be extended to the beneficiaries for setting up compost unit for mushroom culture, the sources said

Since the NHM gives thrust to cultivation of tissue-cultured plants as it ensures a better yield, subsidy in the range of Rs. 7.50 lakh to Rs. 50 lakh would be extended for establishing tissue culture units and bio control laboratories, the sources added.