As the apple growers in Himachal Pradesh (HP) are gearing up to gherao secretariat the seat of state government on August 5, the new data has reflected that the fruit production scenario in the state has not been rosy.
In reply to a question during the question hour in Lok Sabha on August 2, the Centre submitted that HP produced 8,45,420 MT of fruits in 2019-20. It dipped to 6,24,490 MT in 2020-21; implying a fall of over 26 percent in production.
As per the advanced estimates of 2021-22, the fruit production has been 7,96,790 MT in the state. It is still lower by 5.75 percent than what it was two years ago.
In comparison, Punjab and Haryana have shown rising trends in fruit production in 2020-21 and 2021-22.
Haryana posted a rise of 2.76 percent in fruit production in 2020-21 and 2.59 percent in 2021-22. Punjab witnessed a rise of 3.79 percent in 2020-21 and 1.75 percent in 2021-22.
When it comes to fruit exports, HP is on a declining trend. The state exported 693 MT in 2019-20 worth 0.32 million USD while there were no exports in 2020-21. In 2021-22, the business dipped to 664 MT worth 0.14 million USD.
On the other hand, Haryana exported 258 MT worth 0.22 million USD in 2019-20, 370 MT worth 0.25 million USD in 2020-21 while it jumped to 6,746 MT worth 3.27 million USD in 2021-22.
Similarly, Punjab exported 7,577 MT worth 3.78 million USD in 2019-20, 40,064 MT worth 16.18 million USD in 2020-21 and 18,958 MT worth 17.06 million USD in 2021-22.
Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar informed the House on August 2 that the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), a Centrally Sponsored Scheme, is being implemented with effect from 2014-15 for holistic growth of the horticulture sector including fruits, covering all states and UTs.
The Mission envisages the production and productivity improvement of horticulture crops including fruits through various interventions.
Activities such as the production of planting material, coverage of the area with improved cultivars, rejuvenation of senile orchards, protected cultivation, creation of water resources, adoption of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), Integrated Nutrient Management (INM), organic farming, including in situ generation of organic inputs are taken up under MIDH.
The Scheme also envisages the creation of Post-Harvest Management (PHM) and marketing for better price realization of produce.
The Minister further added that the promotion of exports of agricultural products is an ongoing process. To promote agricultural exports, including fruits, the Government has introduced a comprehensive Agriculture Export Policy, which is under implementation in collaboration with the states and UTs.