Horticulture Minister of Himachal Pradesh Vidya Stokes said that 3798 hectare additional area had been brought under fruit production up to November 2013 against a target of 3000 hectare area during this financial year. Emphasis was being laid on various activities under protected cultivation which would go a long way in improving the productivity of horticulture produce.
While presiding over the review meeting of the Horticulture Department at Shimla today, she said that against an approved outlay of Rs 84.97 Crore, the State Plan outlay for the year 2013-14 had been revised to Rs 95.56 Crore. She said that funds amounting to Rs. 32 crore were being spent under Horticulture Mission, 8.08 crore under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) and Rs. 3 crore under National Mission on Micro Irrigation during this financial year.
The minister said that training, extension and advisory to the farmers and fruit growers were pre-requisite to sustained horticulture development, for which an effective and efficient mechanism should be developed. She stressed to establish a close and continuous link between the extension personnel and the farmers so that they be fully conversant with the latest technologies and get all benefits of the development programmes implemented by the State Government.
Stokes directed the officials to improve and equip the tissue culture laboratory at Chail so that adequate and quality planting material could be produced. She also directed that staff manning the fruit processing units should be sent for training to run these units in a professional manner. She said that proper guidelines should be given to the growers for switching over to improved varieties of fruit plants.
She appreciated the efforts of the department in implementing various State and Central Governments schemes for the benefit of fruit growers. She also stressed to ensure full utilization of the funds allocated by the Government of India under various schemes.
Additional Chief Secretary, Horticulture Vineet Chaudhary briefed about the various activities being implemented by the department. He said that the possibilities of establishing flower market within the State would be explored as floriculture sector had a great scope in the market. He assured the Minister that the opportunities for the diversification of horticulture would also be explored in a big way.
Dr. Gurdev Singh, Director, Horticulture gave a detailed presentation on physical and financial progress made under centrally sponsored schemes. Senior officers of the horticulture department from all over the State were also present in the meeting