Horticultural area to be increased

R. Vimal Kumar

Tuticorin: The Department of Horticulture plans to increase the area coverage of horticulture crops in the district by 1,103 hectares and production by about 10 percent during the current fiscal on an outlay of Rs.14 lakh allocated under the Integrated Horticulture Development Scheme (IHDS).

Speaking to The Hindu, S. Joseph Karunanidhi, Deputy Director of Horticulture, said that to achieve the targets, hybrid seeds of vegetables and spices, high quality ‘grafts’ and ‘layers’ of fruit trees, and ‘rooted cuttings’ of flowers, would be distributed to farmers in all the 12 blocks at 50 per cent subsidized cost.

While the seeds required for distribution would be procured by the department from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, high yielding varieties of rooted cuttings as well as grafts and layers would be obtained from the State Horticulture Farms situated at Courtallam, Sundaramodayan (Ramanathapuram district) and Kanyakumari.

Fruit varieties

Of the total area expansion envisaged, 143.2 ha would be earmarked for fruits such as sapota, mango, amla, pomegranate and lime, 786.3 ha for vegetables like tomato, bhendi, murungai, pumpkin and bitter gourd, 113.9 ha for species such as tamarind and chillies, 12 ha for plantation crops like cashew and remaining for flowers (jasmine and rose) as well as other produces like curry leaves.

Block-wise expansion

Block-wise, the maximum area expansion was planned in Tuticorin (229.43 ha) and least in Ottapidaram (79.06 ha). Mr. Karunanidhi said that the horticulture farmers who wished to avail themselves of the planting inputs under IHDS should submit their applications to the Assistant Directors of Horticulture at Agriculture Extension Centres in each of the 12 blocks, at the earliest.

Each of the application should have details pertaining to location of land holdings of the respective farmer and his requirement of inputs.