The cultivation of fruits and vegetables has gradually become a field of immense possibilities for the farmers of Uttar Pradesh, as per the Agroforestry Report of 2023.
The reasons for this include the Yogi Government’s consistent appeal to the farmers to diversify cultivation of crops according to market demand for better income; the production of high-quality plants in Centers of Excellence and Mini Centers of Excellence, which are then provided to farmers at minimum rates; controlled temperature and humidity for protected cultivation; and the modernization of markets (Mandis).
According to the report, the share of the state in the cultivation of fruits and vegetables has increased from 7.2 per cent to 9.2 per cent in the country within a decade, while the Gross Value Output (GVO) obtained from it has increased from Rs 20,600 crore to Rs 38,000 crore.
It is noteworthy that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has always encouraged farmers to cultivate fruits and vegetables since his first term in view of their immense potential both in terms of their consumption in domestic and international markets as well as for the growth of processing units.
More than a year ago, when the Yogi Government took over for the second time in the state, it set an ambitious target for the Department of Agriculture regarding expansion of the area of cultivation, increase in yield, and processing for the next 5 years.
As per the plan, the area under horticulture crops has to be expanded from 11.6 per cent to 16 percent and food processing from 6 per cent to 20 per cent in UP by 2027. This has been done considering the possibility of a large number of processing units to be set up, which will require fruits and vegetables as raw materials on a large scale.
Quality planting material (plants and seeds) plays the most important role in achieving the set target in horticulture. For this, the government will set up an excellence center, mini excellence center or Hi-Tech nursery in every district within a stipulated time period. For example, the center of excellence are under construction in Chandauli, Kaushambi, Saharanpur, Lucknow, Kushinagar, and Hapur.
Similarly, Mini Centers of Excellence are functional in Bahraich, Ambedkar Nagar, Mau, Fatehpur, Aligarh, Rampur, and Hapur. Mini centers of excellence/hi-tech nurseries are also under construction at Sonbhadra, Moradabad, Agra, Sant Kabir Nagar, Mahoba, Jhansi, Barabanki, Lucknow, Chandauli, Gonda, Balrampur, Badaun, Firozabad, Shamli, and Mirzapur. By 2027, the government plans to have such infrastructure in every district.
Due to encouragement from the government and increasing possibilities, the area under cultivation of fruits and vegetables has increased by more than 1.01 lakh hectares and the yield by more than 0.7 per cent in the last 6 years.
To provide quality plants to farmers, the Indo Israel Centres of Excellence for Fruits and Vegetables were established in Basti and Kannauj, respectively.
To grow quality plants and vegetables out of season by controlling moisture and temperature, the work of promoting protected cultivation is also going on continuously by employing Indo-Israeli technology.
In the last 5 years, 177 hectares of polyhouse/shed net were expanded for the production of flowers and vegetables, benefiting 5549 farmers. Constant efforts are made to continue this trend in Yogi-2.0.
“The most effective means of increasing the income of the farmers in Uttar Pradesh is the cultivation of fruits, vegetables, and spices. With nige types of agro-climatic zones, cultivation of all types of fruits, vegetables, and flowers is possible in different regions. Small-marginal farmers will play an important role because they constitute about 90 per cent of the total number of farmers, doing traditional farming of paddy, wheat, sugarcane etc. If their income is to be increased, then they should be encouraged to cultivate fruits, vegetables, and flowers,” said SP Singh, a vegetable scientist.
This report is filed by ANI news service.