Thursday, July 12, 2012



Horticulture, comprising cultivation of fruits, vegetables, flowers, mushrooms, etc., holds a great importance in agriculture, observed Dr. K.L.Chadha, former Deputy Director General (Horticulture), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and President of Horticultural Society of India during his visit to PAU, today. He held an interaction with the scientists at PAU. Those who participated in the discussion included, Dr. D.S.Cheema, Dean, College of Agriculture, Dr. W.S.Dhillon, Director, Punjab Horticulture Postharvest Technology Centre (PHPTC), PAU, Dr. Jagtar Singh Dhiman, Additional Director of Communication, Dr. Y.R.Chanana, former Head, Department of Horticulture, PAU.

Due to rich content of vitamins, fibres, minerals and anti-oxidants, horticultural produce holds great nutritional significance, said he. Dr. Chadha said that due to high yield potential, horticulture has a capacity to replace atleast some area from under foodgrains. He highlighted that horticulture has been revolutionalized technologically and added that the benefit of technology must be made to effectively outreach to farmers. Discussing strategies, he said that the priority areas should include gathering correct statistics, thrust on production on quality disease free planting material and postharvest handling of the produce.

The formulation of small farmer groups and promotion of cooperative farming should be encouraged, said Dr. Chadha. He said that keeping in view the requirement of city dwellers, peri-urban horticulture holds great scope. He appreciated PAU for developing the need-based technologies for fruits, vegetables and flowers and popularizing them to the farmers. Marketing of the produce is very important as far as horticultural produce is concerned, observed he. Unlike wheat and rice, the fruits and vegetables have not been put in the frame of minimum support price, he mentioned adding that there are many associated ventures like bee-keeping, processing, value addition, etc. that can help additional income and employment.

Although, government has taken many initiatives such as allocating budget, providing institutional support and promotion of horticulture, more needs to be done, said he, especially, during 2012 which has been marked as the year of horticulture. Dr. Chadha said that the concept of Apni Mandi was good and needs to be further improved. He informed that the fifth Indian Horticulture Congress 2012 is being organized at PAU by the Horticultural Society of India with the active support of PAU and several central and state governmental organizations, during November 6-9. He further elaborated that the congress will have discussions on advances in frontier areas, mitigation and management of biotic and abiotic stresses, postharvest technologies, innovative market strategies, etc.
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