Research and development projects in horticulture crops have yielded encouraging results, as a result, the production of horticulture crops have been more than food grains irrespective of adverse climatic conditions. After China, India is the second largest producer of horticultural crops and fruits. Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Radha Mohan Singh said at World Orange Day 2017 event in Nagpur on Sunday.
Singh said more than 9 crore metric tonne of fruits on 63 lakhs hectare land were produced during 2015-16. According to an estimate, a production of 30 crore metric tonne horticulture crops on 2.5 crore hectare land is expected during 2016-17 in which contribution of fruit is significant. The record achievement includes 42 million tonne of fruit production on 65 lakh hectare land. In terms of area in India, the citrus fruits hold second position in cultivation area with 10.37 lakh hectare land and third in production with 12 million tonnes.
The Agriculture Minister said keeping in view the importance of orchards in maintaining nutrient security, providing employment and conserving the environment, Agriculture Ministry is implementing Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture across India. The School of Horticultural Sciences department of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), along with its 23 institutes, 11 All India Coordinated Research projects and two All India Network projects are providing necessary technical cooperation and scientific research assistance to the horticulture mission.
Singh said that Government established a Central Citrus Research Institute (CCRI) in Nagpur in 1985 with an objective to develop research and necessary techniques for citrus fruits and in 1986 it was upgraded to National Research Centre for Citrus. He said that in 2014, the present central government upgraded this centre to the central institute. A sub-centre of the CCRI was established 42.4-acre land in 2017 in Biswanath Chariali in Biswanath district of Assam with an objective to accelerate the research and development work on citrus fruits in North Eastern states of the country.
Singh said ICAR is implementing All India Coordinated Fruits Crop Research Project in 10 centres of 8 states such as Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh and Karnataka. Keeping in view the needs of the specific area, necessary research, technical training, and demonstration are being carried out on citrus fruits. In the last 4 years, the Government has allocated a sum of Rs.23 crore to these centres.
In addition to this, Government has allotted a sum of Rs.13 crore and 68 lakh only to the institute situated in Nagpur during 12th Five year plan, which has been increased to Rs.13.4 crore only within a span of 3 years from 2017, out of which Rs.3.25 crore has been allocated for the year 2017-18.
The Agriculture Minister said that many ambitious schemes are being implemented for the integrated development of horticultural crops like informing the farmers of advanced production techniques, promoting the processing and marketing of products to promote the export. For this, 2 clusters will be developed in Amravati and Nagpur.