HP to setup flower market in Delhi

Himachal Pradesh Government would associate the Governments of Delhi, Uttranchal, Jammu and Kashmir in setting up of the prominent flower market in New Delhi to provide floriculturists of the States platform to sell their produce at remunerative prices besides opening a retail outlet at The Ridge, Shimla.
This was revealed by Shri Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, while reviewing the progress, achievements and targets of the Department of Horticulture and its allied subsidiaries in a review meeting held here under his chairmanship last evening.
v 18,743 apple plants of different clonal rootstocks imported from USA.
v Two lakh root-stocks to be provided to growers from next year onwards.
v 2.40 lakh square metre area covered under poly houses in H.P.
Chief Minister said that his Government was considering restructuring of the horticulture and agriculture departments with a view to prepare them to meet the emerging challenges in both the sectors since exhaustive research by prominent scientists in top laboratories was taking place in the sector the world over which was required to be adopted by the state scientists for educating the farming community. He said that Himachal Pradesh happened to be an agrarian State and major portion of its population was directly or indirectly dependant upon the agriculture and horticulture activities for their livelihood besides providing a large number of migratory labourers odd jobs in the sectors.
He said that both the departments required to be equipped with latest technologically advanced cultivation methods so that they could create awareness amongst the growers to compete in the international market with quality produce. Shri Virbhadra Singh said that the State Government had imported 18,743 plants of three different clonal rootstocks of six varieties of apple from United States of America which were under multiplication process with the Dr. Y.S.Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry in their farms at different altitudes and were likely to be made available to the fruit growers from this year onwards. He said that from next year onward the growers would be provided atleast two lakh rootstocks for plantation annually to change their old rootstock.
He said that in the year 2003-04 also the State Government had imported 34,000 clonal rootstock of apple and 5,800 graft wood of improved varieties of apple, cherry, pear, plum, almond and nectarine from Netherlands which too was at advanced stage of multiplication. He said that the rootstock being imported was of high yielding early variety, uniform in colour and disease free.
Chief Minister said that his Government would revive the Honey Industry in the State and set up a technologically advanced processing unit manned by professionally expert persons to produce processed quality honey and promote bee keeping as a self employment avocation in the State. He said that about 30,000 families were involved in the avocation of bee keeping which required to be increased further by encouraging more farmers join the industry for which technical know how would also be made available to make the State quality honey producer in the country.
Shri Virbhadra Singh said the State Government had associated private players in its endeavour to set up a big and modern cold chain in the State to store the fruit and agriculture produce to market the same when the market was ripe for selling the produce at remunerative prices. He said that the Adani Agrifresh Limited of Ahmedabad was investing Rs. 167 crore in construction of three modern air-conditioned storages of 6000 MT capacity each in district Shimla to start with and four procurement and pre-cooling centres in Kinnaur district, besides making available a fleet of 80 refrigerated transport vehicles for carriage of fresh horticultural and agricultural produce from different destinations of the State to the markets outside of the State.
He said that carton manufacturing unit of Wimplast had been supplying two crore packing cartons annually. He further said that the Champagne Indage would be brewing fruit wine in its plant at Pragatinagar within this year. Chief Minister said that his Government was committed to the welfare of the fruit growers and had been looking after their interests and needs. He said that the liabilities of preceding years under the market intervention scheme procurements amounting to Rs. 15 crore were cleared and paid to the growers and a total of Rs. 57.36 crore had been paid to the growers during the years from 2003 to 2006.
Shri Virbhadra Singh said that the fruit production had increased substantially in the State and reached about seven lakh metric tones of during the last season which had been only 1200 MT in the year 1950-51. He said that the horticulture sector had been contributing Rs. 1,500 crore to the Gross Domestic Product annually and was playing significant role in strengthening the economy of the farmers in the State.              Chief Minister said that the Rs. 80 crore Horticulture Technology Mission was under implementation in the State which was supplementing the endeavour of the State in updating the fruit growing practices in the State. He said that the farmers of the State were progressive by nature and had adaptability for latest techniques which could benefit them in quality produce. He said that over 30,000 families had been selected for benefits under the Mission which included 2,600 women farmers. He said that 2.40 lakh square metres of additional area had been covered under poly houses/tunnels which had made Himachal Pradesh the Carnation Growing State of the country.
Shri Virbhadra Singh said that all-out efforts would be made to bring the HPMC and Agro-Industries Limited into profit by diversifying their activities so that they could generate additional avenues of income generation. He said that possibilities was required to be explored to introduce paid diploma and short duration courses in the Dr. Y.S.Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry so that additional revenue was generated.
Chief Minister said that the research by the university scientists needed to be taken to the farms so that the farmers of the State were benefited from their research. He said that the horticulture and agriculture scientists also needed to work in the field in a coordinated way and provide farmers latest know how in fruit growing and agro farming.
Shri Singhi Ram, Horticulture Minister, said that befitting arrangements had been made for meeting the requirements of growers during ensuing apple season. He said that the packing material and transportation facilities had also been ensured while strict vigil was being kept to ensure reasonable transportation charges by the transporters from villages to the markets.
Shri J.P.Negi, Principal Secretary, Horticulture, welcomed the Chief Minister and apprised him of the achievements and targets of the horticulture department.
Shri S.Vijay Kumar, Principal Secretary, Home who also holds the portfolio of Administrative Reforms proposed vote of thanks. Shri Arvind Mehta, Secretary Finance, Shri C.R.B.Lalit, Managing Director, HPMC, Shri V.K.Gupta, Managing Director Agro-Industries Corporation, Prof. Jagmohan Chauhan, Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Y.S.Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Dr. C.R.Sharma, Director of Horticulture, Shri D.K.Sharma, Advisor Planning and other senior officers were present in the meeting.

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