Farm profitability is central to achieve rapid and inclusive agricultural growth and diversification to high value crops such as horticulture and livestock remains the best way not only to improve farm incomes and accelerate growth, but also to reduce stress on natural resources which form farmers’ production base. Creating an enabling environment for greater public and private participation is an objective of the overall policy for development of agriculture.
Mission on Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) has been launched w.e.f.1.4.2014 to promote holistic growth of horticulture sector, including bamboo and coconut through area based regionally differentiated strategies which include research, technology promotion, extension, post harvest management processing and marketing in convergence with comparative advantage of each State/region and its diverse agro-climatic features.
Aggregation of farmers into farmers groups like Farmer Interest Groups/Farmer Producer Groups and Farmer Interest Groups/Farmers Producer Groups and Farmer Producer Companies to bring economy of scale and scope is a new feature of MIDH, aimed at empowering the farmers.
Assistance under MIDH is provided for promoting primary/minimal processing units for processing of horticultural produce and value addition. For technological dissemination, latest technologies are promoted on crop specific cultivation use of Integrated Pest Management/Integrated Nutrient Management, Protected cultivation, organic farming through farmer participatory demonstration/front-line demonstrations at strategic locations/farmer’s field.
To make farming competitive and profitable as well as to step up investment, both public and private, in agro-technology development and creation and modernization of existing agri-business infrastructure, government has proposed to establish two more institutions of excellence in Assam and Jharkhand at par with ICAR Research Centre at PUSA, New Delhi. For this purpose, an initial sum of Rs.100 crore has been provided in the Union Budget 2014-15. In addition, an amount of Rs.100 crore has also been set aside for setting up an ‘agri-tech infrastructure fund’. Further, Government has proposed to establish Agriculture Universities in Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan and Horticulture Universities in Telangana and Haryana for which an initial sum of Rs.200 crores has been provided in Union Budget 2014-15.
Ministry of Food Processing Industry has restructured the ongoing schemes from 12th Five Year Plan and accordingly under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme-National Mission on Food Processing, assistance is provided for implementation of the schemes for technology upgradation/establishment/ modernization of food processing industries, cold chain, value addition and preservation infrastructure for non horticultural products, etc.
Integrated Scheme on Agriculture Marketing (ISAM) also provides for creation and promotion of integrated value chain upto a stage of primary processing only to provide vertical integration of farmers with primary processors. Under the scheme, a subsidy of 25-33.33% of project cost is provided to promoters from general categories and special categories upto a sum of Rs.4 crore and Rs.5 crore respectively.
This information was given today by Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries, Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Balyan in a written reply to a Rajya Sabha question.