Conversation with A. Venkateswarulu, Deputy Director. The Horticulture Department, Government of Andhra Pradesh
Horticulture was bifurcated from Agriculture department in Andhra Pradesh in 1982 and AP Horticulture was formed. “In view of the growing importance to horticulture crops and to give more emphasis for the development of horticulture crops, the department was bifurcated from agriculture department in 1982 January,” avers Mr. A. Venkateswarulu, Deputy Director. The department, Government of Andhra Pradesh Public Gardens, is headquartered in Hyderabad.
The main products of the Horticulture society are all the fruit crops, vegetable crops, spices and condiments, plantation crops, flower crops, ornamental and landscaping, and medicinal aromatic plants.
The main objectives of the department are the following:
* Provide technologies and better management practices to needy cultivators
* Provide good plant material and seeds
* Provide transfer of technologies for quality production and productivity.
* Provide awareness programmes
* As a nodal agency implement all horticulture related programmes give by the state government and central government
* Facilitate in promotion of exports
* Provide new technologies in post harvest technologies with the help of universities, APEDA/N.H.B.
Research & Technology Promotion
Mr. Venkateswarulu is a strong advocate of research and technology promotion in horticulture. “Without extension there is no research, with out research there is no extension. Both are interlinked and are important activities. To promote research and technology, take the new technologies from research and promote among the farmers and for update of the knowledge of field officers frequently participated in trainings in different states of research stations,” he says.
Marketing of Products
Speaking about the techniques used by the Department in marketing its products are:
* Encourage value addition projects especially in mango, banana and papaya
* Encourage the farmers to form cooperatives for selling of their produce in distant market wherever the prices are better.
* As per the marketing situation the farmers are encouraged to grow horticulture crops.
* Storage facilities are encouraged on subsidy basis
* Rythubazaars are established in A.P. 186 centers for sale of vegetables and fruits by farmers itself and purchasers also get fresh produces on remunerative prices
National Dairy Development Board Cooperatives
Explaining National Dairy Development Board model of cooperatives, Mr. Venkateswarulu says, “The Dairy Board implements cooperative development and governance programmes across the country. The aim is to help create self-reliant and professionally managed cooperative institutions, responsive to the economic and social expectations of their members.”
He adds, “The salient features of the cooperative are institution building, helping build self-sustaining cooperatives, women development and leadership development, need based consultancy is provided to help evolve strategies to strengthen cooperatives. It also links large cooperatives, unions, federations and NDDB in national level; and ensure availability of analytical information for policy planning.” [hidepost]
Any farmer/entrepreneur can approach NHM for extending the information whatever the required by farmer/ entrepreneur. “Through our institution, training will be imparted to needy farmers on N.H.M. activities,” adds Mr. Venkateswarulu. Based on the areas and further demand of crops funds can be allocated.
Disaster Management & Compensation
When asked how the Department handles disasters caused by natural calamities like drought or floods, Mr. Venkateswarulu, says, “Whenever the national calamities will occur the field staff assess the situation and calculate the requirement of the loss and submit proposals to government. Immediately after natural calamities like floods, the farmers will be motivated through mass media and other extension methods for decrease of loss to their crops, necessary technical guidance will be given as per the situation. We encourage dry land horticulture.”
Further speaking about the compensation given, he says, “Whenever there are floods, the compensation can be paid above 50% loss as G.O.Ms.No.2, Dated; 17.04.2008 as follows:-
* Horticulture nurseries – Rs.4500/- per ha.
* Mango, citrus, cashew nut, sapota, guava, pomegranate, ber etc – Rs. 9000/- per Ha.
* Banana – Rs.12000/- per ha.
* Betel vine – Rs. 300/- per cent (limited to 100 cents)
* Vegetable, flowers, papaya, chilies – Rs. 4500/- per ha.”
Procurement of Raw Materials
Most of the plant materials are produced from the departmental farms.
Wherever there are shortfalls, the plant materials are procured from technically approved private nurseries and agriculture societies like Agri-Horticulture Society and KVKs. “The required seeds will be procured from private seed supplying companies through AP State Seed Corporation (APSSDC) and National Horticulture Rural Development Federation (NHRDF),” says Mr. Venkateswarulu.
To encourage export of agricultural products, the Department imparts the necessary knowledge to needy farmers regarding export of agriculture products through trainings.
“Phyto-sanitary certificates are being issued for exporters by authorized officers of the department. We don’t provide any subsidy to any farmers or for any crops,” says Mr. Venkateswarulu.
Speaking about the job prospects for those who have undergone training with the Department’s Training Institute, Mr. Venkateswarulu says, “At present the trainings are giving to the farmers only 2 days on different crops and technologies like post harvest, precision farming and micro irrigation etc. Only one course is conducted for unemployed youth for 3 months giving gardeners training, they are getting self employment and getting employment outside also.”
The Department launched APMIP in 2003. “It is very successful and it is first in country. The farmers are very much satisfied with the scheme and it is an on-going scheme. Till day 12.00 lakh acres have benefited by this project in Andhra Pradesh,” says Mr. Venkateswarulu.
APMIP is an ongoing project. Other projects are National Horticulture Mission, Rastriya Krushi Vikasa Yojana, National Oil Palm Development Scheme, and other State Government Schemes.
The government offers the following subsidies and assistance to encourage horticulture:
* Under APMIP subsidy is provided 70% not more than Rs.50, 000/- to each family is provided as assistance
* Under NHM for development under area expansion 75% subsidy not more than Rs.22, 500 per ha is provided. For model nurseries 50% assistance is provided, i.e. Rs.9.00 lakh to big nurseries and Rs.1.50 lakh to small nurseries
* Under Rejuvenation Rs.10000/- per Ha as a subsidy
* Under IPM/INM for decrease of Pest Management and deficiency of Micro Nutrients Rs.1000 per ha is provided
* Organic Farming Rs.15000/- per ha. per farmer provided
* H.R.D Field level trainings are giving 100% assistance i.e. Rs.5000 per training per day, Rs.25000 per training at state level for two days
* Post Harvest Management and Establishment of Marketing Infrastructure 25% back end subsidy is provided as per norms
* For leaf analysis 75% assistance is providing, i.e. Rs.300/- per sample
* For oil palm development 50% to 75% is providing, for different schemes
Speaking about their future plan, Mr. Venkateswarulu says, “Our future project as of now is development of medicinal and aromatic plants through central government assistance.” By educational qualification he is M.Sc (Ag.) horticulture with 26 years of experience in the field. “I have worked in different fields like development of nurseries, water management schemes, tribal development schemes, rural development schemes and I have visited different countries on educational tour.”
Source : Agriculture & Industry Survey[/hidepost]