traditional crops, they are getting attracted to horticulture. The trend has increased with the arrival of educated farmers. Also, consumption of vegetable and fruits has gone up with people becoming more aware about nutritious food,” says another senior officer of the horticulture department.
However, there are many in MP who find the exponential growth in acreage and production of horticulture a little hard to digest and allege that the figures are far removed from ground reality.
“It’s difficult to cross check the government figures but ground inputs don’t paint such a rosy picture,” says Sandeep Shrivastava, who is associated with the splinter group of Bharatiya Kisan Sangh. “Though farmers are taking initiatives, infrastructure like cold chain or marketing channels to back their effort is missing in MP.”
With an average capacity of 5,000 tonnes, MP has about 160 cold storage facilities, much fewer than Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, but their number is increasing, thanks to government subsidy.
“Input cost for horticulture is much more and farmers often don’t get reasonable price,” says P Hasmukh Gandhi, secretary of M Cold Storage Association, adding the government’s optimism about horticulture is little misplaced.
The government has organised a three-day International Horti Expo 2013 at Bhopal from February 1 to make farmers aware of latest techniques available at national and international levels. Farmers, producers, experts and manufacturers in horticulture sector will take part in the meet, the first of its kind in the state.