Horticulture: Madhya Pradesh's parallel growth claim
Arun Hajela and Haren Tiwari, officials at the state horticulture department, said the exemption encouraged farmers to grow horticulture crops because they no longer had to worry about produce rotting at the mandis. The exemption also saw processing units set up units.
The horticulture growth has been most visible in Indore and nearby areas where top quality potato, used in chips and fries, are grown. In Ratlam, for example, farmers have started growing enough grapes to sustain a winery.
“Since farmers are getting higher returns in comparison to 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,
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