Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Wednesday said higher education institutions like the Dr Y S Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF) should develop the latest knowledge and technology to benefit the farming community.
Addressing the 37th foundation day of UHF, Nauni in Solan district virtually from Shimla, Thakur said over the years, Himachal has made splendid progress in the field of horticulture as it has emerged as a potential factor to boost the agricultural economy. “Horticulture accounts for about 33 per cent of agricultural production and the annual apple business of apples alone was more than Rs 5,000 crore. The role of agriculture and horticulture in employment generation, nutritional security, and poverty alleviation programs are becoming increasingly important,” he added.
He also remembered the first CM and founder of Himachal Pradesh Dr Y S Parmar, who envisioned setting up Horticulture University and said during the Covid pandemic, the horticulture economy has provided much-needed support to the state’s economy.
“The University has been ranked ‘A’ grade in Atal Innovation Ranking released by the Union Ministry of Education and also ranked 11th in the ranking of Indian Council of Agricultural Research affiliated Agricultural University.
Since its inception, 7,376 students have taken education from the varsity and at present, 2,627 students are studying in various degree programs. The state government has also established a College of Horticulture and Forestry in the Thunag area of Mandi district,” the CM said.
Thakur asked the University to prepare trained human resources, to find the latest technologies from new research and to spread this knowledge to the farmers, so that they can increase their income and living standards.
The state government has also constituted a Task Force to successfully implement the historic New Education Policy 2020. In addition, a vision document was almost ready to implement this policy by the University which would benefit the students and usher in a new education revolution in the country.
He further stated that the state was world-famous for its beauty and along with tourism, the horticulture sector was playing a major role in strengthening the economy of the state. Horticulture and tourism should be combined together, to establish an agro-horticulture based eco-tourism model by the University.
He urged the agri-scientists to work towards food processing and suggested that the University train more and more farmers in food processing and motivate them to adopt new techniques so that they can earn good profit from their production.