Shillong, Jul 29 (UNI) To improve livelihood opportunities and bring prosperity in the North East by doubling the horticulture production by 2010, the Centre has launched Technology Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture.
With funds allocated from the Centre, the Northeastern states, including Mizoram, Sikkim and Meghalaya, have established Centres of Excellence in horticulture and started spreading the idea of fruit and vegetable cultivation among the farmers, official sources said.
The North-Eastern states are very rich in horticulture and floriculture with several varieties of medicinal plants.
With the motto of ''Converting weakness into strength'', the Technology Mission on horticulture aims at attaining self-sufficiency in seasonal and off-season vegetables by providing technical inputs, high yielding seeds and training to progressive farmers.
The Sikkim Horticulture Department has set the ball rolling for the farmers willing to undertake production of horticulture. Within a span of just one year, after the department took a serious approach, there was surplus production, beyond the scale generated by local market.
Taking cognizance of limited land holding of the farmers, the Department of Agriculture, Horticulture and Cash Crop Development has been laying emphasis on per square metre production module and cluster approach giving an opportunity even to marginal farmers to reap the benefit under Technology Mission.
High-yielding varieties of seeds are being provided to progressive farmers along with training on cultivation, taking care of the plants, besides regular follow-up during cultivation period by the department personnel.
Officials of the Department of Agriculture, Horticulture and Cash Crop Development informed that in order to facilitate the farmers to get better price support, cold storage facilities and integrated packaging unit is under construction on war footing.
The Mission is based on the 'end-to-end approach', taking into account the entire gamut of horticulture development, with all the backward and forward linkages in a holistic manner.
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