The Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has prepared the Horticulture Cluster Development Programme (CDP), for which a meeting was held under the chairmanship of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar for its proper implementation. Minister of State Kailash Chaudhary participated virtually in the meeting. In the meeting, Tomar told the concerned officials that the main objective of the government is to promote the Agriculture sector in the country and to increase the income of the farmers by giving them a reasonable price for their produce, so the interest of the farmers should be paramount in the center of any programme/scheme.
Union Minister Tomar said that the overall development of horticulture in the country would be focused with the help of the implementation of the Cluster Development Programme and it would be emphasized that the farmers should be benefited from this programme. He said that the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal, Manipur, Mizoram, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand etc. should also be included in the list of 55 clusters, identified with their focus/main crops. Tomar said that the land available with Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) affiliated institutions within the identified clusters should be utilized for the implementation of this programme. He also emphasized on crop diversification and linking this ambitious programme with the market for produce sale and capacity building.
Minister of State, Kailash Chaudhary said that under the programme there is a need for geo-tagging of infrastructure for benefitting small and marginal farmers, tracking of activities implemented in the fields, monitoring purpose, etc.
The meeting was informed that the Cluster Development Programme has a great potential to transform the entire horticulture ecosystem by creating last-mile connectivity with the use of multimodal transport for efficient and timely evacuation and transportation of horticulture produce. The CDP will also create cluster-specific brands, while helping the economy, to integrate them into national and global value chains, thereby providing higher remuneration to farmers. The CDP will benefit around 10 lakh farmers and related stakeholders along the value chain. The CDP aims to improve exports of targeted crops by about 20% and create cluster-specific brands to enhance the competitiveness of cluster crops. A lot of investment will also come in the horticulture sector through CDP.
During the meeting, Tomar released Cluster-wise 12 brochures containing details of opportunities to avail financial assistance through relevant government schemes/programmes. The brochures also provide brief information about focus crop, potential value addition and export destinations.
Union Agriculture Secretary Manoj Ahuja, Joint Secretary Priya Ranjan, Horticulture Commissioner Prabhat Kumar along with officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and National Horticulture Board (NHB) were also present in the meeting.