State nurseries to produce 52 lakh root stocks by 2023 : Mahendra Singh
SHIMLA---- The nurseries of Himachal Pradesh have capacity to produce 52 lakh apples root stock by 2023 and work on action plan had already been started to achieve this goal. This was stated by Irrigation & Public Health and Horticulture Minister Mahender Singh Thakur while presiding over a meeting with Consultant Agencies of New Zealand and the Netherlands regarding progress of the ambitious Horticulture Project of Rs. 1134 crore for the state, here today.
The Horticulture Minister expressed concern that root stocks were procured from abroad on a large scale, of which almost 50 percent had dried up before reaching here. He said that the geographical conditions and climate of Himachal Pradesh is different from the countries from where these root stocks were being procured. He said that there was better possibilities of producing root stocks according to the local climatic conditions. He emphasized that Department should fix the targets of producing cent-percent plants in the state. However, by the year 2023, 13 lakh root stock will be produced as per the existing infrastructure, but there was potential to increase the production by four times by strengthening infrastructural facilities. He stressed the need to gradually reducing import of root stock and strengthening nurseries to make them viable.
Mahender Singh said that this project was mainly for expansion and revival of temperate fruits like Apple, Pear etc and it was important that prior to importing plants, geographical conditions, irrigation facilities and soil testing like aspects must be taken care. He asked the consultancies to advise the varieties of root stock for the areas above 7000 to 9000 feet high. He directed that before the distribution of plants selection of clusters in various parts of the state should be identified keeping in view the topography and irrigation facilities and soil testing should also be ensured. He said that irrigation facility was the main component, and the cluster should be chosen where the water is available or the irrigation scheme was under construction.
Horticulture Minister said that all departmental Subject Matter Specialists and HDOs should go to the farmers and orchardists and give them advice on the plants that could be grown in their respective areas. He said that the officials of the consulting agency should also go to the field and provide necessary training and consultation to the orchardists. He asked to submit the report within 10 days. He said that if the consulting agency was unable to bring the expected results, its contract would be reconsidered. He said that results must be seen on the ground and every penny of the project will be spent on farmers and no irregularities will be tolerated. He also approved the annual work plan of Rs 150 crore under this project for the year 2018-19.
Mahender Singh said that the horticulture project of 1688 crores has been approved for sub-tropical areas of the state.
Additional Chief Secretary R.D. Dhiman, Project Director Dinesh Malhotra, Horticulture Director M.L. Dhiman, the representatives of Netherlands Consultancy on Agriculture Affairs Frank Maas, team of New Zealand agency and the officers of the Horticulture Department were present in the meeting.