The Government has cleared a Centrally- sponsored scheme on National Horticulture Mission (NHM) with an outlay of Rs. 2,300-crore in the Tenth Plan. This is likely to bring under horticultural crops about 33 lakh hectares additional area and to rejuvenate 16 lakh hectares of senile plantation by the end of the Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-12). Besides this, about 21 lakh hectares would be covered under the integrated pest management and also about 2,040 nurseries would be established to make available good quality planting material.
The basic objective of the NHM is to double horticulture production to 300 million tonnes by 2011-12. The NHM will bring technological interventions through forward and backward linkages from production to marketing and processing of horticultural produce. The importance of horticulture in improving the productivity of land, generating employment, improving economic conditions of the fanners and entrepreneurs, enhancing exports and, above all, providing nutritional security to the people, is widely acknowledged. Horticulture sector, which includes fruits, vegetables, spices, floriculture, and coconut, among others, covered 17.2 million hectares of land in 2003-04, accounting for 8.
5 per cent of the gross cropped area of the country. With production of 156.1 million tonnes in 2003- 4, the sector contributed 30 per cent of GDP from agriculture. It occupies 8.5 per cent area and 10 per cent of the total agricultural export earnings.
The targeted growth rate during the Tenth Plan for the sector is 6 to 7 per cent. With fruit production at 47.5 million tonnes in 2003-04, India accounted for about 10 per cent of the global production of fruits from an area of 4.0 million hectares and was the second largest producer of fruits in the world. With 90 million tonnes of vegetable production in 2003-04, India ranked as the highest producer of vegetables in the world. In the world, India occupied first position in the production of cauliflower, second in onion and third in cabbage.
A Panel, appointed by the Government, reports that the country is facing recurring post-harvest losses of horticultural crops of about 5000 crore per annum. The NHM will primarily focus on (i) horticultural research and development; (ii) to generate good quality seeds and planting material; (iii) to have coverage of area with improved varieties and (iv) to conduct productivity improvement programmes. It will also address post-harvest management and marketing by fostering infrastructure facilities for cold chains, market yards and market intelligence and value addition. The Centre will also give suggestions to the States on what to cultivate with export also in mind. The mission will also be looking at marketing and export promotion. The NHM will operate on three levels, the Mission at the Centre and State and District level missions. Mission General Council is to be comprised of: (a) Ministers and Secretaries of Ministries concerned. (b) Representatives from FICCI.
(c) Exports and Growers. (d) Members of Indian Council of Agriculture Research. (e) Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. (f) National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development.
The Development is planning to bring in 33 lakh hectares of additional area under cover of fruits and vegetables. 2,040 nurseries will be established so that good quality planting material is available for farmers. The NHM will also focus on post harvesting technology. India has 39 Agri-Export Zones (AEZs). AEZs helps in exporting fresh and processed fruits and vegetables. The AEZs are going to be further strengthened by the investment of Rs. 1,018.
85 crore from the private sector, Central and the State Government.