Keeping in view the diverse climatic conditions of the state for cultivating different species of fruits, the Himachal Pradesh Government is contemplating preparing "area specific schemes" for promotion of horticulture. The diverse geo-climatic conditions of the state are conducive for cultivation of wide varieties of fruits which could be grown in different parts of the state and asmany as 35 species of different verities of fruits could be successfully grown in the state, said Horticulture Minister Mahender Singh Thakur. The field officers and specialists have been issued specifically directed to visit the farms of farmers in their respective areas and conduct research to explore the possibility of maximum coverage under horticulture activities. The specialists will go in the field and prepare area specific plans for different regions, keeping in view agro climatic conditions of the area to ensure that optimum survival of plants was achieved, he stressed. Robust plants of fruits of high yield varieties will be provided to farmers in the state after proper soil testing and more and more farmers will be covered under floriculture and horticulture activities, he said adding this endeavour would also open more self employment avenues in rural areas and strengthen economy. The government has also decided to increase procurement prices of citrus fruits in the state under market inventor scheme (MIS) and the government would encourage food processing industries for optimum utilisation of horticulture crop. The horticulture department would develop nurseries as per demand of the farmers and according to the climatic conditions of the region and over 4.5 lakh plants would be distributed to the farmers during the next three months through departmental nurseries as per their requirement, the minister said. The Horticulture Minister has also directed the officers to prepare a plan for widening the horticulture activities in the State and the farmers would be provided plants after soil-testing in the respective areas. This would ensure greater income to the farmers as they would be able to grow more cash crops suited for their area. The Horticulture Minister also stressed the need to provide quality plants to the farmers. He said that strict action would be taken against those supplying plants of poor variety. He also directed the department to ensure that only high quality plants are provided to the farmers. The state government was making sincere efforts to ensure remunerative returns to farmers of their produce and Apple, Mango and citrus fruits have been brought under Market Intervention Scheme (MIS). Integrated Horticulture Mission was being effectively implemented in the state for development of horticulture and various activities such as plant nurseries, construction of water sources, and increase in horticulture area, protective farming under green house, organic farming, post harvest management and food processing activities would be executed effectively under the mission, the minister informed.
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