Minister for Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Shri Sharad Pawar today assured Members of Parliament that the government will provide all necessary funds to the National Horticulture Mission (NHM) to usher in golden revolution in horticulture sector in the country. Addressing the Parliamentary Consultative Committee attached to his Ministry, Shri Pawar said that it is up to the States to take advantage of NHM and come up with good and relevant schemes for the betterment of their horticulture sector.
The Minister said, “During the Tenth Plan, Rs. 1,575 core or 97% of the allocated funds of Rs. 1630 crore were placed with the implementing agencies. A much higher outlay at Rs. 8809 crore has been kept for the Eleventh Plan, of which Rs.2728 crore or around 31% has been released till 2009-10. A provision of Rs. 1062 crore has been earmarked for the current year 2010-11.”
Referring to achievements made under the NHM, Shri Pawar said, “An additional area of 16.57 lakh hectares has been brought under horticultural crops during the last five years and about 2.78 lakh ha of senile orchards have been rejuvenated. Under infrastructure development, 2,192 nurseries have been established. With the active involvement of the ICAR institutes, State Agriculture Universities and Krishi Vigyan Kendras, 309 scientific infrastructure facilities such as Leaf/Tissue Analysis Labs, Disease Forecasting Units, Bio Control Labs and Plant Health Clinics have been set up. Under post- harvest management, 1093 pack houses, 285 cold storage units, 4 CA (controlled atmosphere) storage, 14 refrigerated vans and 264 mobile/primary processing units have been set up and 9 whole sale markets and 150 rural markets established.”
The Minister asserted that a virtuous cycle based on increased productivity and improved quality leading to higher incomes, and this is in turn leading to further investments and improvements in a self perpetuating and self reinforcing manner was the vision and remains the vision of the Mission today. He said that a few additional components included in the new operational guidelines 2010 effective from the current financial year will help attain the holistic development and growth of horticulture sector in a sustainable manner benefitting all stakeholders.
On the new component of Terminal Markets in Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode, Shri Pawar said, “This hub and spoke model for providing a market linkage for the farmers produce will result in many benefits to all the stakeholders. The guidelines for this component have been recently revised to make it more attractive for private investment. Now, the subsidy element has been permitted from 25 upto 40%, subject to a ceiling of Rs 50 crore. Enthusiastic responses have now begun to be received from Bihar, Maharashtra, Orissa and Tamil Nadu. The proposal from Bihar has been approved recently.”
During 2005-06, the first year of NHM, 227 districts, in 18 States covering 40 major crops, were taken up. Over the years, there has been a steady increase in both coverage as well as scope, and presently 371 districts in 18 States and 3 Union Territories and 60 crops are under the ambit of NHM. A separate mission titled Horticulture Mission for the North East and Himalayan States or HMNEH similarly has been entrusted the same task.
The Minister of State for Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Prof. K.V Thomas was also present in the meeting. MPs who participated in the meeting included Shri A. Ganeshamurthi, Shri, Sharief-ud-din Shariq, Shri Dhruva Narayana Rangaswamy, Shri M. Krishnaswamy, Shri K.Sugumar, Shri Hansraj Gangaram Ahir and Smt. Santosh Chowdhary of Lok Sabha, Prof. M.S. Swaminathan, Dr. K.P. Ramalingam, Shri Vikram Verma, Shri T.M. Selvaganapathi and Ms Mabel Rebello, Smt. Mosina Kidwai, Smt. Renu Bala Pradhan of Rajya Sabha.