Rs 6.36 crore earmarked for horticulture activities in HP

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Shimla, May 17 (UNI) The Himachal Pradesh Government has made a provision of Rs 6.36 crore to implement horticulture development programmes in the state.

Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Minister Narender Bragta, while presiding over a review meeting of state and central sponsored schemes attended by officers of Horticulture Department here yesterday, said efforts were on to make plant protection medicines available tax-free in the state on the lines of neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana.

The orchards of the Horticulture Department would be developed as excellent ideal centres to boost horticulture activities, he added.

The Minister said the State Government was committed to bring about qualitative improvement in the production of fruit by providing better facilities to the fruit growers strictly in accordance with the international standards.

He said that horticulture, being a significant economy sector, the State Government was according top priority to strengthen it.

Mr Bragta said the Government was emphasising on various horticulture components, including horticulture research, simplification of nursery plantation and diversification of horticulture activities, to achieve four per cent growth-rate in horticulture produce during annual plan 2008-09.

He said horticulture production was being given impetus by taking effective remedial measures like setting up of anti-hail guns to combat natural calamities like hailing and mist, besides, reviving training programmes for farmers, particularly women in rural areas.

He said that the State Government was exploring possibilities to develop necessary infrastructure to ensure remunerative prices to fruit growers for their produce. He added that the Horticulture Technology Mission would supplement the efforts to implement it more efficaciously.

Mr Bragta said rootstock of new varieties would be provided to traditional apple orchards to bolster and maintain production and quality of apples. Horticulture scientists have been directed to multiply root-stocks in the nurseries, besides, encouraging diversification of fruit production to generate income of fruit growers, he added.

Expressing satisfaction over extensive installation of Poly Houses in the state, the Minister said it had worked wonder in strengthening the economy of farmers. He said the state needed to encourage and provide quality bulbs and herbal saplings to floriculturists and those involved in herbal plantations respectively.

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