Interview with Mr.Kulbir Singh, Director, Department of Horticulture, Punjab.
What is the total area under horticulture crops in Punjab at present?
At present fruits occupy about an area of 44,000 ha. from which a production of 6.28 lakh tonnes has been estimated. Vegetables are cultivated on an area of about 1.53 lac ha. with an estimated production production 25.88 lakh tonnes in the State. About 19000 tonnes fresh mushroom is being produced which contribute 45% share in the total production of India.What are the major crops being cultivated? Which are the strong horticulture districts in Punjab?
Fruits : Kinnow, sweet orange, Lime-Lemon, Mango, Litchi, Guava, Pear, Peach, Plum, Grapes, Ber.
Vegetables :Potato, onion, garlic, tomato, brinjal, cauliflower, cabbage, okra, chillies, peas, muskmelon, watermelon, Vine vegetables, root vegetables and other vegetables.
Horticultural crops are being grown successfully in all the districts.
Are there any successful horticultural processing units in operation could you name them?
Six government fruit preservation laboratories are working under the control of this department at Patiala, Abohar, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Amritsar.
Is there any horticultural crop that is being successfully exported? What is the total value of horticultural exports this year?
3470 MT of Kinnow fruit was exported. The total subsidy of Rs.41,46,357 is provided to the exported by the Punjab Agri Export Corporation Ltd. Chandigarh during the year 2002-03.
What are the highlights of the government policy towards horticulture in the state?
The main emphasis is given by the government to bring additional area under horticultural crops by diversifying area from cereal crops to horticultural crops. There is a plan to bring an additional area of 4000 ha. under fruits, 10000 ha. under vegetables and 200 ha. under floriculture during the year 2005-06.
How does the department of horticulture help horticulture farmers?
Facilities are provided to promote the horticulture in the State by the department is given in the table.
What are the different subsidies given to horticulture farmers by the state and central government in Punjab?
The following subsidies are being given by the department :
m 50% subsidy is provided to the growers on the purchase of garden tools, plant protection equipment and barbed-wire etc. Subject to maximum of Rs.1400 per beneficiary.
m To improve the quality and productivity of Kinnow, financial assistance @ Rs.5000/ per ha. for the purchase of ridomil fungicide.
m Financial assistance @ Rs.500/- per demonstration (0.1 ha) for carrying out time bound horticultural operation.
m Improvement of Grape quality through Israeli Technology financial assistance @Rs.2800/- per acre.
m 50% subsidy is provided for the purchase of plastic crates for the safe handling and transportation of produce for better marketing.
[hidepost] m25% subsidy is provided on the installation of drip irrigation as per norms of GOI under Macro Management Work Plan.
m Financial assistance @Rs.1000/- per acre is provided for the production of hybrid and high yielding vegetables.
What are the main developments in the Department of Horticulture in last 12 months: What is the current annual budget outlay for the department?
Total outlay of state plan and Centrally Sponsored Schemes is as under:
Rs. in lakhs
Name of the scheme 2004-05 2005-06
State plan scheme 527.50 704.06
scheme 316.50 339.00
Is there any promotional schemes in the state for organically farmed vegetables and fruits? Are there any designated agencies for certification of organic crops in Punjab?
At present neither there is any promotional schemes for organically farmed vegetable and fruits nor any certification agency in the State. However, the farmers are being educated by the department to go in for organic cultivation.
What is the progress being made in the horticulture related agricultural export zones in Punjab?
Five agriculture export zones of potato have been set up by the Markfed – a nodal agency. In these AEZ the department has deputed a team of Horticulture Development Officers in each zone to provide training/ education on the improved technology to the potato growers.
We find that imported fruits are being in India – including super markets of Chandigarh at very high prices? Why do you feel that the same fruits being grown by the farmers are not being sold and marketed in the same manner?
Yes. The farmers are being educated to sell their produce on the same manner.
Is there any private sector investments in Punjab Horticulture? Can you suggest commercially interesting projects that entrepreneurs can decide to set up in the state?
There is no any private sector investments in the State.
Please tell us about you own education and career achievements till date?