Radha Mohan Singh calls for increased private partnership for post-parvest management of horticulture produce
Delivering the inaugural address at Global Conference and Exposition on Value Added Agriculture and Food Processing at Kochi on Thursday, Singh said that with consistent efforts of the Government and active participation of the farmers in adopting innovative technologies, it has been possible to sustain the agriculture production over the years."Especially Kerala has made significant progress in horticulture production, which has increased to 10.33 million tonnes in 2012-13 after the launching of National Horticulture Mission in the State in 2005-06. During the 12th Plan the State has got an amount of Rs. 444.03 crore from the Centre for the development of horticulture," he said.
He urged the state to create sound processing facilities for fruits like pineapple, enhance productivity of crops like pepper, cashewnut and coconut to be competitive in export market.Singh said the state should take the advantage of Centre for Perishable Cargo set up at Kochi for furthering export potential of fruits and vegetables by increased production of horticulture produce in catchments area of Kochi International airport.
Singh said the Centre is aware of agro-potential of Kerala that is why ICAR has set up institutes for plantation crops, tuber crops, spices and fishing technology. Besides this 14 Krishi Vigyan Kendra of ICAR are also working. The Centre is also giving financial support to three agriculture universalities in the States.He observed that farmers’ cooperatives should be strengthened in the states in view of small land holdings and mechanized farming should be taken up at the cooperative level for stabilization and augmentation of produce. The state should provide policy support for this purpose.
He also suggested that water harvesting should be taken up in the state through check- dam to utilize rainwater.Expressing concern over shrinking land area under cashewnut cultivation in the state, he said efforts should be made to reverse the trend. He also said that loss of about 15-20% of fishes during transportation and handling should also be checked by adopting better post-harvest transport and management practices.