Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Minister, Mahender Singh Thakur called upon the scientists and field staff to address the problems of even small farmers to take the horticulture sector of the state to greater heights.

He was speaking at the inaugural session of the two-day state-level officers’ workshop on Package of Practice for fruits and flowers being held at Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni. The workshop has been sponsored by the Department of Horticulture, Himachal Pradesh.

Horticulture Minister said the Himachal being a hilly state is unique as it is blessed with different agro-climatic zones.

The farmers must get complete scientific information right from planting, management to the harvesting and post-harvest management of different crops.

The minister called upon the line officers of the horticulture department and the scientists of the university to work as a team and address the field issues of even the small farmers. He sought the support of the university scientists in various projects of the state government like HP HDP and HP SHIVA for the promotion of horticulture in the state so that the economy of the state and the income of the farmers can be increased.

He laid special importance on training and pruning in fruit crops for ensuring maximum yield. He stressed on the importance of beekeeping in pollination and as a medium of self-employment. The Horticulture Minister was of the view that scientists and the department should work towards meeting the quality planting needs and promote horticulture in the largely unexplored climatic zones in the state.

Vice-Chancellor Dr Parvinder Kaushal gave an overview of the workshop. He shared the importance of the event for the farmers and said the university will ensure that the workshop is organized every year so that the latest scientific information reach the farmers. Dr Kaushal also sought the support of the government in funding the research activities of the university. He said that the cherished goal of doubling farmers’ income can only be achieved when the research done in the university reaches its end-users.

Besides Director Research Dr JN Sharma, Director of Extension Education Dr Rakesh Gupta, statutory officers and scientists of the university, line officers of the horticulture department, over 200 participants are attending the workshop.

During the workshop, seven technical sessions on varieties recommendations in fruits and flowers, plant protection and mushroom cultivation, production technology for fruit crops, food science and technology, crop improvement will be organized. The participants will discuss the latest research in the field of fruits and flowers in the state, which have been carried out by the scientists of the university. Based on the discussions, the recommendations such as the inclusion of new varieties and technology will be added in the latest package of practice for the production of fruits and flowers in the state.

Earlier, the Horticulture minister inaugurated a Field Lab cum Sale Centre in the Department of Floriculture and Landscaping Architecture of the university. The lab has been built at a cost of Rs 20 lakh with funding support from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).