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Thursday, January 27, 2011

STATUS OF HORTICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT IN MEGHALAYA

By Dr C.O. Rangad*

The geo-climatic situation of Meghalaya offers an excellent scope for growing of different types of horticultural crops including Fruits, Vegetables, Spices, Plantation crops, Medicinal and Aromatic plants of high economic values. A wide range of tropical, sub- tropical and temperate fruits such as Mandarin Orange, Pineapple, Banana, Lemon, Guava, Pear, Plum etc. are grown all over the state. A large variety of vegetables both indigenous and exotic are grown in many places of the state. The high altitudinal place of the state provides good opportunity to grow vegetables including Potato and Cole crops during the rainy season. Tuber and root crops such as Sweet Potato and Tapioca, Spices crops such as Turmeric, Ginger, Chillies, etc. grow abundantly in the state. Plantation crops such as Tea, Cashewnut, Coconut, Arecanut and Spices crops like Black pepper have been performing well and are coming up with great promise. These in the long run can change the entire economic situation of the people of the state.
Growing of horticulture crops has the following distinct advantage over the traditional food crops:
i)              Most of the horticulture crops are perennial in nature and offer larger bio-mass production;
ii)            Horticulture crops and their products have high potentiality for export and foreign exchange earning;
iii)          It enables productive and economic utilization of cultivable wasteland;
iv)          Generates rural employment opportunities;
v)            Provides viable alternative to shifting cultivation;
vi)          Check soil erosion and improves ecological balance.
WHERE WE STAND

  • The total cropped area in the State during 2004-05 was 2, 65,874 Hectares which is 11.85% of the total geographical area (22.42 lakh Ha); while the net cropped area is 2, 19,224 Hectares, which is 10% of the geographical area.
  • The total area under fruit crops is 26.23 thousand hectares.
  • Among fruit crops, maximum area is under Pineapple (9.5 thousand ha) followed by Citrus (8.2 thousand ha) and banana (6.2 thousand ha).
  • Total area under vegetable crops is 11.94 thousand hectares.
  • It has second largest acreage of potato (20.8 thousand ha) after Assam.
  • It has sizeable area under cabbage, cauliflower, radish and chow-chow, which are grown as off-season vegetables and mostly marketed out side the State.
  • As far as spices are concerned, Meghalaya is one of the leading States in case of ginger production (9.2 thousand ha) and also one of the leading producers of quality turmeric.
  • Arecanut and Cashewnut are leading plantation crops followed by Tea. Total area under plantation crops is 17.99 thousand hectares.
  • The State’s latest foray into high value low volume crops namely, Strawberry and commercial floriculture like Rose, Liliums, Anthuriums, Carnations, Birds of paradise is very promising. High value vegetables like Brocolli and Capsicum are also being expanded through the Technology Mission Scheme.

KEY ISSUES
·         The State has demonstrated the vast potentialities on Horticulture Development. The Centre of Excellence for Rose, Strawberry and Anthurium has shown the potentialities of breaking new frontiers in horticultural revolution in the State.
·         Various State Plan schemes under general Horticulture for development of fruits, vegetables, plantation crops and spices were taken up on promotional basis.
·         Under the Technology Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture, more facilities could be provided in the form of assistance to the individual and group of farmers.
·         The area expansion of vegetables, flowers, spices and fruit crops have help in improving the economic livelihood of the farmers.
·         The construction of community tank, Vermi-compost units, green houses, irrigation facilities like tube wells, drip irrigation, sprinkler irrigation and the provision of improved power and manually operated farm implements and tools are also the incentives that have made a difference.

THRUST AREAS:
·         Fruit Sector: - Khasi Mandari – rejuvenation and area expansion; Pineapple- area expansion and processing.
·         Temperate fruit sector: - plum, peaches, pears, kiwi fruit etc.
·         Indigenous fruit sector: - popularization and commercialization of indigenous crops like sohiong, sohphie etc.
·         Vegetable sector: - production of off-season vegetables, potatoes and seed production.
·         Production of low-volume and high value crops like strawberry, capsicum, broccoli etc. and flowers like roses, anthurium, carnation, bird of paradise etc.
·         Cultivation of cash crops like Black pepper, cashewnut
·         Tapping of ground water potential
·         Improvement and encouraging mechanization in horticulture and processing sector.
·         Integrated Pest management with stress on training of Officers.
·         Stress on Organic farming for spices like ginger & turmeric, fruits and vegetables.
·         Encouraging protected cultivation by using plastic and shade nets in horticulture.
·         Research and Development.
·         Post-harvest management including cold chain, grading, packaging and assured marketing.
·         Involvement of women groups in horticulture activities.

GOVERNMENT INTERVENTIONS
The total number of state plan schemes in the state: 36 Nos
Total number of Nurseries: 24 Nos
Total number of processing units: 2 Nos
Horticulture Hubs: It is now proposed to set up 5 new Horticulture Hubs in addition to the ones at Ri – Bhoi and East Garo Hills District
Cold Chains: They will also be set up to stimulate and speed up horticulture development and marketing.
Tissue Culture Lab:1 No.

CONSTRAINTS:
o   Low to very low productivity of crops;
o   Lack of assured irrigation facility;
o   Poor agro-mechanisation process;
o   Unscientific land use;
o   Poor economic condition of the farmers, remoteness of the area and backwardness;
o   Non-viability of proven quality planting materials suitable to the State;
o    Inadequate extension service in dissemination of improved production technology to the growers due to lack of  adequate manpower at the field level;
o   Absence of appropriate post-harvest technology;
o   Lack of storage and processing facilities;
o   Lack of organized market infrastructure;

PRESENT ACHIEVEMENTS
Horticulture crops like Pineapple, Banana, Chillies, Sweet Potato, Turmeric, Tapioca and Papaya have registered significant increase in the area and production. Besides, Tea and Mushroom cultivation has also been successfully established in the State. A scheme for Tea Cultivation which was limited to the three districts only has been extended to other districts also. Citrus Development Scheme aims to rejuvenate the Citrus Plantation /Industry in the State through new planting by setting up of new Orchards and by way of providing Financial Assistance to local tribal farmers. Fruit Development Scheme aims at strengthening the Fruit cultivation including supply of planting materials and financial assistance to Farmers. Horticulture Indigenous plants are also being popularized. Special mention may be made to the programmes under Technology Mission for Horticulture Development funded by the Govt. of India through the State SFAC which is being implemented in all the seven Districts of the State. Under this programme substantial achievement have been made in high value low volume crops namely strawberry and commercial Floriculture like Rose, Liliums, Anthuriums, Carnations and Birds of Paradise. High Value Vegetables like Brocolli and capsicum are also being expanded. By the implementation of this programme, progress have been made in the  increase of productivity of Horticulture crops through Mini Mission II by way of introduction of advanced technology, inputs and high quality  planting materials and also by helping to setup market infrastructure for Rural  and Whole Sale markets through Mini Mission III. The programme has also addressed the post harvest and marketing aspects by encouraging private entrepreneurs to set up post harvest facilities under Mini Mission IV.
The Directorate has proposed several major scheme in the Annual Plan 2008-09 which include proposals for Manure & Fertilizers, Plant Protection, Commercial Crops (such as Plantation Crops, Spices, Mushroom, Experimental Tea Plantation, Package Tea & Indigenous Crops), Horticulture & Vegetable Crops (which includes Vegetable, Grant-in-aid to Hort. Societies, Citrus  Development, Fruit Development, Esstt. of Large Sized Hort. Nurseries, Esstt. of Directorate of Horticulture, Floriculture, Strawberry, Rose, Anthurium & Modern Floriculture Centre).

There has been an increase in cropped area, total production and yield per hectare in many cultivated crops in the State since the commencement of the State. The marked increase in some of the Horticulture crops can be seen in the table below:-
Sl. No
Crops
Physical Terms
Year
Rate of increase (%)
1984-85
2005-06
1
Fruit crops
Area in Ha.
19,608
28180
43.71
Production in MT.
1,74,489
231595
32.72
Productivity
KG/Ha.
54245
50069
(-)2.30
2
Vegetables
Area in Ha.
4882
13400
74.47
Production in MT.
45,510
142240
12.54
Productivity
KG/Ha.
9321
10615
13.88
3
Spices
Area in Ha.
16,325
18570
13.75
Production in MT.
44,894
73555
63.84
Productivity
KG/Ha.
9931
15354
54.60
4
Tuber crops
Area in Ha.
26,570
28295
6.49
Production in MT.
1,83,205
198090
8.12
Productivity
KG/Ha.
16740
17414
4.02
5
Plantation crops
Area in Ha.
6695
18870
81.85
Production in MT.
6434
22740
53.43
Productivity
KG/Ha.
961
4494
67.63



SECTOR WISE TARGETS AND ACHIEVEMENTS ON PRODUCTION OF DIFFERENT HORTICULTURAL CROPS DURING 2007 – 08 AND
ANNUAL PLAN TARGET PLAN 2008 - 09



Item
Unit
11th Plan Target (2007-2012)
Annual Plan 2007-08
Target
Annual Plan
2008-09
Target
Achievement
anticipated
1. Fruit Crops
‘000 tonnes
291.98
234.33
234.33
289.47
2. Vegetables
‘000 tonnes
170.02
145.49
145.49
156.98
3. Tuber Crops
‘000 tonnes
246.69
199.92
199.92
230.49
4. Spices
‘000 tonnes
95.78
74.45
74.45
75.78
5. Plantation Crops
‘000 tonnes
32.29
23.01
23.01
34.46
6. Floriculture
‘000 tonnes
46.30
44.60
44.60
45.00




LONG TERM PHYSICAL TARGETS
 The targets on Area, Production and Productivity for Horticulture Crops is given below:-
Area = in Hectares,    Production = in Metric Tonnes, Yield = in Kg / Hec

                                  Sl.
no.

ELEVENTH  PLAN  TARGET
TARGET FOR 2024 - 25.
NAME OF THE CROP
AREA
PRODUCTION
AVERAGE
YIELD
AREA
PRODUCTION
AVERAGE
YIELD
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
1
FRUIT CROPS







I) Pineapple
9720
86270
8875.5
15300
183830
12015

ii) Citrus Fruits
8450
35280
4175.1
11000
74700
6791

iii) Banana
5800
67680
11669
9440
127860
13544

iv) Papaya
850
7080
8329.4
1140
9635
8452

v)Temperate Fruits
1080
5670
5250
1100
6540
5945

vi) Misc. Fruits
3400
37450
11015
3390
39600
11681

Total Fruits
29300
239430
49314
41370
442165
10688
2
VEGETABLES
15200
160800
10579
22630
242900
10734
3
TUBER CROPS







i) Potato
19100
180200
9434.6
29260
330398
11292

ii) Sweet Potato
5540
20330
3669.7
8827
38256
4334

iii) Tapioca
4340
24100
5553
7050
42500
6028

Total Tuber Crops
28980
224630
18657.3
45137
411154

9109
4
SPICE CROPS







I) Ginger
9400
54520
5800
15200
117200
7711

ii) Turmeric
1830
10750
5874.3
2900
23000
7931

iii) Chillies
2000
14100
7050
2790
2300
824

iv) Garlic
-
-
-




v) Black Pepper
800
590
738
825
660
800

vi) Tezpata
6260
16275
2599.8
6380
17800
2790

Total Spice Crops
20290
96235
22062.1
28095
160960
5729
5
PLANTATION CROPS







I) Tea
1350
3835
2840.7
1800
3680
2044

ii) Arecanut
11810
14820
1254.9
16500
30000
1818

iii) Cashewnut
6450
6420
995
11050
13150
1190

Total  plantation crops
19610
25075
5090.6
29350
46830
1596



OTHER ACHIEVEMENTS

The Horticulture Directorate is implementing schemes and programmes for upliftment of horticulture development in the State. For the first time , the Department has introduced and encouraged the farmers to opt for low volume, high income, high value short duration cropping venture. In this regard, special mention may be made to the programmes under the Technology Mission for Horticulture Development funded by Government of India through the State SFAC for increasing the area and production of horticulture crops. Under the programme, significant achievement is made on the following:-
1.      Strawberry cultivation and Rose Project in Ri Bhoi District.
2.      Floriculture and Off-Season Vegetables cultivation in East Khasi Hills.
3.      Anthurium Project in East Garo Hills.

CONCLUSION
Agriculture Marketing plays a vital role in development of rural economy. A properly organized marketing system ensures remunerative return to the farmers for their produce and in turn help in augmentation of production. Meghalaya has immense scope for development of horticulture through diversification and intensification of production plans.
            The market demand for horticultural products is ever increasing due to growth in population as well as economic development and capita income. The most important advantage, however, is the market potentiality of horticulture produces that are grown and can be grown in the state and the feasibility of distant marketing.
In addition, the following issues needs to be addressed:-

v  Improve the productivity of land through production and supply of disease free and good quality planting materials, use of improved adaptable technology etc.
v  Reduce cost of production by mass multiplication of planting materials, efficient use of inputs etc.
v  Improve quality of products by adopting international and national standards.
v  Value addition to horticultural products.
v  Adopt practices like organic farming to capture export market.
v  Strengthen the organizational support and infrastructure.
v  Focus on human resource development in horticulture.

* The author is presently the Director of Horticulture in the Government of Meghalaya

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