Integrated Farming

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New Delhi, Jul 24 (UNI) Horticulture which holds promising future for Indian farmers can be increased five fold with the help of science and technology.

Dr H P Singh, Deputy Director General (Horticulture), ICAR, said this at a ''National Conference on Income&Livelihood Security through Horticulture Development''.

The two-day conference, jointly organised by IFFCO Foundation, National Horticulture Mission and ICAR here from July 23 was attended by a number of scientists, farmers, officials from government&cooperative departments.

Welcoming the huge gathering, Mr J N L Srivastava, Managing Trustee, IFFCO Foundation said horticulture experts cannot be placed in every village but farmers can be trained as experts to look after horticulture.

He further added that the conference will serve as an ideal forum for scientists and farmers to interact and their views and recommendations will be forwarded to the government for implementation. This will enable the government to effect changes in the policy.

India ranks second in the world in production of fruits and vegetables, and horticulture contributes 28 per cent to nation's agriculture production.

Dr M L Choudhary, Horticulture Commissioner, revealed that idea of Horticulture Mission was conceived in 2004 due to growth in industrialisation and urbanisation.

He advocated that group farming and marketing will be more profitable than individual farming in prevailing circumstances.

Mr S K Pattnayak, Mission Director, National Horticulture Mission enlisted various activities required to improve and accelerate horticulture production. He also stressed on developing post-harvest technology and facilities so that farmers can get higher income.

Dr C V Ananda Bose, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture emphasised on improving productivity of horticultural crops. He said that though India ranks second in the world in vegetable and fruit production but the productivity is at a very low level which needs to be enhanced through adoption of technology.

Mr Bose also stressed on the collective action for production, processing and marketing of horticulture produce.

Dr U S Awasthi, Managing Director of Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Ltd. (IFFCO), said IFFCO is setting up Kisan SEZ, first of its kind in the country on 2,700 acres of land in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh. He further said the basic objective of Kisan SEZ is to increase farmers income through processing and packaging of agri- produce.

Mr Awasthi also added that IFFCO has recently ventured into an agreement with Legend International Holdings in Australia for mining of rock phosphate in view of the problems of availability of phosphatic fertilisers in the country.

During the conference, renowned experts and scientists deliberated on a wide range of topics like propagation of quality, planting materials in fruit crops, integration of organic farming systems for sustainable production of horticulture crops, improving soil fertility in case of fruits and vegetables, promotion of food parks, impact of national horticulture mission (NHM) in providing better livelihood opportunities to farmers, scope for export of horticulture produce etc.

They also shared their experiences acquired during implementation of NMH programmes.

UNI BBS PDT VC1920

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