Farmers in arid regions of Palnadu have often been at the receiving end due to the vagaries of nature, uncertainty of yield and volatile market conditions.
Now, all that is going to change, with a Centre for Excellence being set up under an Indo-Israel bilateral agreement in backward areas of Palnadu, promising to usher in a qualitative leap in production of disease-resistant chilli and value-added products like chilli flakes, chilli oil, chilli briquettes, etc.
“This Centre for Excellence is a boon to farmers in Palnadu as this will help farmers see for themselves the modern methods of farming using less water, pesticides and enhance the quality of production. This it will pave the way for an increase in local economy and will help farmers study technologies like shade net house, poly house, etc. to grow vegetables and fruits in a limited area,” said Member of Parliament, Narsaraopet, Lavu Srikrishnadevarayulu.
Yair Eshel, Agriculture Attache MASHAV, representing the Government of Israel, said that introduction of new technologies in vegetable production through frontline demonstration and conducting farm training programmes with involvement of FPOs would encourage farmers to adopt improved technologies in growing vegetable crops.
On Monday, the MP along with Yair visited the fields at Nekarikallu near Narasaraopet and interacted with farmers.
The crops selected are chilli, capsicum, European cucumber, tomato, gherkins and chives/high-value herbs.
Andhra Pradesh is the leading producer of spices, second in the production of fruits and fifth in vegetables and even after bifurcation, still enjoys rich horticultural wealth. The horticultural crops in the state occupy 17.84 lakh hectares with an annual production of 312.34 lakh metric tonnes. The State leads in the production of mango, sweet orange, papaya and banana. coconut, oil palm, cashew nut are the major plantation crops. Andhra Pradesh is the Horticulture bowl of the country with varied agro-climatic zones, variety of soils with endemic irrigation sources which is conducive for cultivation of all kinds of tropical and subtropical fruits and vegetables.
A.P. is the largest producer of fruits in India with an estimated share of 15.8%. Horticulture contributes to about 17.16% of the State’s GDP and horticultural crops cover 30% of the gross area in the State. Major share of production in A.P. is from vegetables (44%) and fruits (50.5%).