Report on the status of horticulture crops cultivation in Andhra Pradesh and the assistance provided by the state horticulture department to this sector.
Andhra Pradesh has a good potential for horticulture and has about 1.53 million hectares of area covered under horticulture crops. The total production of horticulture crops is 11.30 million tons in addition to 1052 million coconuts. Andhra Pradesh is the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in India and it produces more chillies, turmeric and oilpalm than any other state.
Being traditionally rich with horticulture resources, the state having seven agro climatic conditions suiting various horticulture crops, these resources are further blended with latest technology and practice to meet the global demand for qualitative produce, thus making a favourable destination for global sourcing.
The horticulture sector is expected to account for 10 per cent to 15 per cent of the state’s gross state domestic product in the next 10 years, growing at an average rate of 15 per cent. Growth is expected to come mainly from exports and inter-state trade. The horticulture sector in particular, offers maximum scope on moving up the value chain.
The Agriculture Department in Hyderabad was established in the year 1911. Since then, the department maintained steady progress and expansion. Between 1911 and 1952 a number of research stations were established for tackling different agronomic problems. At the same time, an engineering branch was also established and strengthened gradually for the improvement of agricultural implements, to assist the public in installing pumpsets, drilling deep bores, training oil engine drivers, etc. With the commencement of Grow More Food Campaign all over the country during the war years, a number of new developmental schemes were implemented and as a result, the Department had got expanded to a considerable extent by providing staff for research and extension. Osmania University had established first Agriculture College, in Hyderabad in its campus during 1946.
The horticulture department was bifurcated from agriculture department in 1982. Area under horticulture crops during 1982 was recorded as 3.7 lakh hectares. In 2001, 13.78 lakh hectares was recorded with an annual production of 9.5 M.Ts, and in 2002, 1.5 million hectares with an annual production of 10 M.Ts. Andhra Pradesh is the leader in production of mango, citrus, chillies, turmeric and oil palm and is also a major producer of cocoa, cashew, guava, coriander, banana, ginger and coconut. The main objective of the department was to extend technical services to farmers and to guide farmers is implementation of new technologies, introduction of new crops etc. The department of horticulture is headquartered at Public Gardens, Hyderabad.
The AP horticulture spectrum consists of plantation crops, medical aromatic plants, mushrooms, ornamental horticulture, apiculture, tuber crops, spices, flowers, vegetables and fruits.
The department of horticulture is implementing various schemes both under state and central sector with main thrust on core programs to give a boost to horticulture sector and to tap available potential for the development of horticulture sector in the state. The various thrust areas are the following:
• Development of Fruits: Fruit crops occupy major portion of area coverage i.e. 7.60 lakh hectares in the state. The major crops are mango, citrus, banana, cashew, cocoa and plantation crops. During the year 2004-2005 increase in production, area and productivity is to be achieved through technology and management practices. Capacity building through training is also a thrust area.
• Development of Vegetables: In Andhra Pradesh the total area under vegetables is 2.36 lakh hectares with an annual production of 3.31 million tonnes. The per capita consumption is quite low. The present production is not adequate to meet the present demand of 7.70 million tonnes. To provide nutritional security and to fill up the gaps it is quite essential to increase the production and productivity levels of vegetables. During 2004-05, area of 23,000 hectares (Kharif 9199 hac and Rabi & Summer 13801 hac) is proposed to be covered under hybrid vegetable seeds with an outlay of Rs.376.75 lakhs.
• Green Village Model Demo Project: The program is implemented in selected districts in a cluster approach with an object to encourage farmers to cultivate high value vegetables under shade houses using modern practices. Under this program, shade net houses along with micro irrigation system, 4700 vermi compost units, micro nutrients, literature were provided on 50% subsidy per unit area of 504 sq. mt.
• Development of Spices: Andhra Pradesh holds first rank in chillies and turmeric in area, production and productivity. There is an immense scope for production and export of several annual and seed spices. During 2004-05, an area of 1640 ha. is proposed with an outlay of Rs.354.82 lakhs.
• Commercial Floriculture: Floriculture sector has been identified as most focused segment of horticulture. The year 2003-2004 was a landmark year when the horticulture department has promoted cost effective green houses for production of cut-flowers in a big way. In 85 poly houses cultivation of cut flowers has been taken up and the produce is being marketed in Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam with good profits. The crops grown are carnation, gerbera and anthurium. An assistance of Rs. 48.50 lakhs has been provided during the year 2003-04. During 2004-05, 30 green / poly houses and 275 loose flower cultivation units are proposed with an outlay of Rs.93.88 lakhs.
• Medicinal and Aromatic Plants: Medicinal and Aromatic Plants is one of the fast growing sectors with the global herbal market of 60 billion dollars per year. Our country’s share is less than 1%. The department of horticulture has identified this sector as a thrust area with export potential.
• Information Technology & Data Management: Promotion and implementation of information technology through technology transfer in horticulture sector and appropriate MIS is essential for the development of the sector and the department has placed a strong emphasis on this.
• Mushroom Development: Mushroom cultivation has a special relevance to the Andhra Pradesh as the climate is conductive to cultivate a number of edible mushrooms. Five mushroom laboratories were established in the state in the districts of Hyderabad, Visakhpatnam, West Godavari, Prakasam and Kurnool for the production and supply of (spawn) material to the growers. Training programmes are also organized in mushroom cultivation.
• Oil Palm Development: Andhra Pradesh stands first in area, production and productivity under oilpalm development programme. In Andhra Pradesh, 4.10 lakh ha has been identified as potential area for oilpalm cultivation in 11 districts i.e 9 coastal districts, Chittoor in Rayalaseema region and Khammam in Telegana region. In the above 11 districts, 322 mandals have been identified as potential areas and out of which 266 mandals were allotted as factory zone to 13 public/private entrepreneurs for establishment of processing units. An area of 38,000 ha has been covered under oil palm upto 2003-04.
• Andhra Pradesh Micro Irrigation Project: The department of horticulture has launched Andhra Pradesh Micro Irrigation Project for encouraging micro irrigation during the year 2003-2004 for conservation of precious ground water resources and utilization of less power.
AP MICRO IRRIGATION PROJECT
In the entire world the total area cultivated under micro irrigation is 29 lakh hectares. In India the area under the micro irrigation is approximately 4 lakh hectares. APMIP project is aimed at to cover 2.5 lakh ha in the next coming year and a half in the AP giving benefits to about one lakh farmers. The project coverage is 879 non-command area mandals in 22 districts.
The objectives of micro irrigation are increased crop productivity; improved quality of agriculture produce; conservation of water and sustainable use of water; higher energy efficiency in agriculture sector; higher fertilizer use, saving in labour expenses, and generate higher farm income, on-farm and off-farm employment and livelihood opportunities. The stake holders in APMIP are farmers, panchayat secretaries, MCOs (Mandal Coordinating Officers); collectors/PDs, District Water Management Agency; bankers; micro irrigation suppliers; monitoring and evaluation agencies; APMIP Cell; Horticulture, Agriculture, Sericulture, Sugar Departments.
The proposed coverage under different sectors are agriculture – 0.487 lakh ha covering crops viz., oilseeds, pulses, maize, cotton, tobacco etc; horticulture – 1.41 lakh ha covering crops viz., fruits, vegetables, flowers, spices, medicinal and aromatic plants, plantation crops etc; sericulture – 0.246 lakh ha under mulberry crop; and sugar – 0.338 lakh ha under sugarcane crop
[hidepost] The uniqueness of APMIP are use of BIS certified components; improved microfertigation system including fertigation tank and safety valves in comparison to conventional subsidy scheme; agri extension service to farmers by micro irrigation companies for a period of 5 years; operation and maintenance guidelines by micro irrigaion companies for a period of 5 years; training and capacity building of farmers and stakeholders; penalties to MI supplier for violation of agreed duties and responsibilities; stringent penalties for violation of quality control and assurance; performance bank guarantees by MI supplier; independent monitoring and evaluation of MI supplier performance; and project implementation(100%) by an external agency.
AGRI EXPORT ZONES
The AEZ’s were set up with a view to providing remunerative return to the farmer community in a sustained manner, and to provide improved access to the produce / products of the agriculture and allied sectors in the international markets. The AEZ is expected to give a focus and direction for exports of key agricultural produce with potential from the country. It involves a detailed action plan for the development of a specified geographic area /s for effecting systematically greater exports of a specific produce.
In view of exports, the state government of Andhra Pradesh has promoted five AEZs. The AEZ for mangoes exclusively has been set up at Vijayawada, covering Krishna district. Another AEZ for mango pulp and vegetables (fresh and processed) exists in Chittoor district, and there are AEZ’s for gherkins in Ranga Reddy, Medak, Mahbubnagar, Nalgonda, Warangal, Karimnagar and Anantapur districts. And an AEZ for chilles in Guntur to meet the international quality standards and improve export of chillies.
AEZ is concerned with agri exports. The emphasis is on partnership of various agencies / systems and convergence of interventions of various agencies like APEDA, Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MFPI), National Horticulture Board (NHB) etc. The focus will be on increasing exports of identified commodities. The concept of AEZ, which aims to give fillip to agriculture exports, comprises the following:
• Identifying a potential zone based on agro-climatic requirements for a particular crop.
• Integrating various assistance programmes of central and state government agencies and providing fiscal incentives to exporters.
• Implementing the same through involvement of private and public partnership
• Integrating all the activities till the produce reaches the market.
The measures envisaged to promote exports from such zones are financial assistance and financial incentive. Both central as well as state government and their agencies are providing a variety of financial assistance to various agri export related activities. These extend from providing financial assistance for training and extension, R&D, quality upgradation, infrastructure, marketing etc. Thus whereas central government agencies like APEDA, NHB, Department of Food Processing Industries, Ministry of Agriculture provide assistance, a number of state governments have extended similar facilities. All these facilities are dovetailed and extended to promote agri exports from the proposed zones in a coordinated manner.
The benefits under Export Promotion of Capital Goods Scheme, which were hitherto available to direct exporters, have now been extended to service exporters in the AEZ. Thus even service provided to ultimate exporters will be eligible for import of capital goods at a concession for setting up common facilities. They shall fulfil their export obligation through receipt of foreign exchange from ultimate exporters who will make payments from their EEFC account.
Exporters of value added agri products will be eligible for sourcing duty free fuel for generation of power, provided cost component of power in the ultimate product is 10% or more and the input out norms are fixed by the advance licensing committee of the DGFT. In view of the power intensive nature of most of the value addition, almost all the exporters of the value added agriculture produce will become eligible for such facility.
A number of activities have also been suggested under the AEZ to facilitate exports, which include interventions at farm level like appropriate agronomical practices, IPM & INM programmes, demonstrations and trainings, drip, post harvest practices like usage of plastic crates, precooling centers, cold storages, pack houses and marketing areas leading to an integrated approach for export development. And also creation of and up gradation of post harvest infrastructure required for exports.
BIO TECHNOLOGY CENTER
Biotechnology is the sunrise sector in India and will play an important role in achieving food, water and health security. Realising its implications for the farm sector, the department of horticulture has established the Bio-Technology Center and Leaf Analysis Laboratory at Hyderabad to introduce modern technologies which will revolution size the cultivation of fruit crops, flower crops and other cash crops like turmeric, grape etc. The Biotechnology Center houses a tissue culture laboratory for the production of banana, turmeric and chrysanthemum and other crops protocols are being added.
The department of horticulture has established Leaf and Water Analysis Laboratory, which started functioning in May 1999 with an objective to develop nutrient guide for recommendation of manure and fertilizer for economic yield and quality procedure. This lab houses modern and sophisticated equipment such as nitrogen auto analyzer, atomic absorption spectrometer, UV/VIS spectrophotometer microwave digester. Computers through specially designed programmes to deliver accurate results in a short span of time operate these equipments.
The lab provides facility to analyse the leaf samples for major elements like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and micro nutrients like iron, copper, zinc, manganese and boron. The fee charged is Rs. 200 per one leaf sample and Rs 50 per one water sample for Indian farmers.
AP HORTICULTURE TRAINING INSTITUTE
The Andhra Pradesh Horticulture Training Institute was established in the year 2002 with a total cost of Rs. 229 lakhs of Hyderabad. The core competency of the horticulture department is provision of extension services i.e. dissemination of knowledge and not subsidy distribution. Hence, the department of horticulture established a training institute in an area of about 2.5 acres land. The objectives were to identify the training needs of the department; impart in-service training to technical staff of the department in modern technologies in different sectors of horticulture i.e. from production to post-harvest management and marketing; to impart training to progressive horticulture farmers of the state; and to provide profession training on value added ornamental horticulture.
The institute is will equipped with two lecture halls with capacity of 40 persons in each class, one computer lab, library and hostel facility.
The training methodogies include field visits, hands-on training for skills acquisition, use of progressive farmers also as trainees, mandatory acquisition of computer skills by department officers, improvement of physical and mental fitness, yoga, meditation and shift in emphasis from lecture oriented sessions to participatory training sessions. The training programmes conducted by the department can be classified in to the following categories:
• Generic Training Programmes: This includes various training programmes under different sections such as fruits, vegetables, spices, flowers, post-harvest management.
• Project Specific Training: This includes trainings related to Andhra Pradesh micro irrigation project.
• Reforms Oriented Training: It includes computer training, leadership and personality development.
The other short term paid courses are on Home Gardening, Bouquet Making, Ikebana and Mali Refresher Course. The institute also offers one year P.G.Diploma course on land scape gardening in collaboration with JNTU, Hyderabad. The department has established a School of Gardening in A.P. Horticulture Training Institute, and a School of Micro Irrigation, which is a two months certificate course to train the ITI candidates to work as field level workers in the micro irrigation field.
The Institute has the following collaborations with other institutes:
• JNTU – To conduct P.G.Diploma in landscape gardening
• Nursery Industry – To conduct one-month apprenticeship for students of School of Gardening.
• Micro Irrigation Industry – To conduct five weeks apprenticeship for students of Micro Irrigation Certificate Course.
• IIHR – To conduct specific training programmes.
OTHER THRUST AREAS
The other thrust areas include: • Promotion of new technologies (post harvest management) • Popularisation of new technologies • Agri Export Zones • Integrated Pest Management •
• Integrated farming in coconut holdings for productivity improvement
The strong set of incentives has helped to persuade farmers to start producing cocoa, oilpalm, gherkins and Indian gooseberry. Even companies like Cadburys, Godrej, SICAL, Palmtech, BHC Agro, Dabur, Mahindra Shubhlabh, Ralis India, Essar, Shaw Wallace, Champagne indage and AV Thomas are getting involved in these initiatives.
In order to showcase best practices in the sector and promote interaction among stakeholders the department organizes various shows and exhibitions. Among them are Horticulture Trade Fair at International level and Nursery Mela at National level annually. This year the department organised International Horticulture Trade Fair 2005 from 25th to 28th January 2005 at Hitex Exhibition Centre, Madhapur, Hyderabad. This years trade fair culminated into quantum projects by some of the leading corporates.
The Horticultural trade fair aims in bringing horticultural growers, processors, exporters, input suppliers, extension workers, scientists, prospective entrepreneurs and consumers from all corners of the world to a common platform to share their views and knowledge. Thus providing an amicable environment for business transactions, JV discussions and trading in the horticulture sector.
All this has ensured that the horticulture sector in Andhra Pradesh is well poised to participate significantly in the “Golden Revolution” by becoming a global destination for horticulture sourcing.