Horticulture Can Improve the Farm Income

Dr  K L Chadha, the Father of the Horticulture Revolution in India having yeomen`s service in the field of horticulture for the last more than five decades. Krishna Lal Chadha is an Indian horticultural scientist, author and a former National Professor of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. He was honored by the Government of India, in 2012, with the fourth highest Indian civilian award of Padma Shri. Krishi Jagran Team interacted with Dr Chadha. The excerpts are as given below:

In view of the 8th Indian Horticulture Congress 2018 with the title`Shaping Future of Indian Horticulture` during November in Raipur, Chhattisgarh how you foresee the future of Horticulture as Chairman of the National Organizing Committee and the President of the Horticulture Society of India ?

The Horticulture crop production surpassed food crop production in India for the first time during 2013-14. The trend continued during 2017-18 with 305.40 MT. Despite significant increase in production of horticultural crops, low productivity and profitability in several crops is still a hurdle and is required to be attended in order to meet future challenges and avail global opportunities in the country. The role of innovative horticulture technologies is thus required to be continuously updated and given to all the stakeholders leading to safe, remunerative and sustainable production.

The objectives of the 8th Congress is to take stock of the researchable issues in different horticultural crops, for example fruits, vegetables and tuber crops, floriculture, M&A Plants, Spices, Plantation Crops, Bamboo and Mushrooms; to discuss potential of new generation tools and techniques in crop improvement; also to share innovative technologies in alternative production systems of horticultural crops. To analyze future challenge and chalk out strategies to mitigate them to keep horticulture sector remunerative.

Sir, as the Horticulture Sector is Remunerative, your view point on the Prime Minister Mission towards the Doubling the Farmers Income? through the Horticulture.

Doubling Farmers Income through Horticulture was the theme of the 7th Indian Horticulture Congress 2016 during 15-18 November in 2016 held in IARI, Pusa campus, New Delhi, the recommendations were to promote integrated farming systems with focus on horticultural sector in the potential areas, coupled with intensive extension to enable farmers to doubling their farm incomes. The major recommendation was creation of modern mandis for direct handling and sale of fresh farm produce to curtail the interference by middlemen. The centre should have schemes for creating facilities for large scale grading, packaging, storage and transport. The focus of entire deliberations were made in 21 Technical Sessions was enhancing the farm incomes, through different interventions, exemplifying improved varieties & production technologies, efficient input management, safe pest and disease management, mechanization, enhancing primary and secondary processing capabilities, novel product development, pro-horticulture policy interventions, promotion of soft skill development for entrepreneurial opportunities, better marketing and retail management, export promotion etc.

Improving Horticultural Crop Productivity, which are the high tech introductions?

There are several high tech interventions which have been introduced in horticulture crops production which can improve yields considerably. The most significant basically of these is introduction and standardization of high density planting in tree fruits to ensure optimum utilization of land, light and nutrients, resulting in ease in management of various operations. The significant are citrus, mango, cashew, litchi, guava, pineapple and the temperate fruit particularly Apple. High density planting has been successfully tried in several crops both by institutions and the farmers.

Can you elaborate the use of agro-chemicals indiscriminately used by Farmers in production of different Crops?

A large number of chemical and growth regulators are being marketed by several private companies. Of which some of the chemicals which have stood the test of time include ethephon for induction of flowering in pineapple, paclobutrazol for improving regular flowering in mango, Dormax for hastening bud break ingrape and threl or etherphon used in fruit ripening in mango, banana, sapota and papaya.

Towards improving Farm Income, how the input management can help?

Reduction in cost of inputs will instantly reduce the cost of production resulting the improvement in the returns. Use of soil analysis promoted by the Government through introduction of soil health card can help considerably in proper land use and identification of nutrient and water requirements for crop optimum crop productivity. Promotion of low cost desalination units in areas with saline groundwater will improve farmers income from such soils considerably.

To improve productivity, what are the immediate measures you can suggest!

My suggestions are simple things like ensuring gap filling in young orchards, top-working for change of old scion varieties, mild pruning to maintain ideal canopy rejuvenation or replacement of diseased unproductive and old plants/orchards can help in giving early increase in yield.

How we can induce Young Generation towards Horticulture?

It is very important as educated youth are less interested to take up conventional agriculture. There are many horticultural technologies which can attract our young generation to involve them in horticulture sector. These are high tech horticultural innovations, protected cultivation, hydroponics, aeroponics and aquaponics and nursery production. The young perople can take up mushroom cultivation, bee-keeping, etc. production and marketing and drying of flowers are the new opportunities for them to seek gainful employment.

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