The Uttar Pradesh government will has decided to set up excellence centres and mini excellence centres/ hi-tech nurseries in all the 75 districts in the next five years to boost horticulture and food processing industry in the state.
According to an official spokesman, hi-tech nurseries set up by the government at Bahraich, Ambedkar Nagar, Mau, Fatehpur, Aligarh, Rampur and Hapur have already become operational while centres of excellence are under construction in Chandauli, Kaushambhi, Saharanpur, Lucknow, Kushinagar and Hapur.
The Indo-Israel Centre for Excellence has been established in Basti and Kannauj for fruits and vegetables respectively, so that farmers can get quality seedlings.
Furthermore, mini centres of excellence/hi-tech nurseries are under construction at Sonbhadra, Moradabad, Agra, Sant Kabir Nagar, Mahoba, Jhansi, Barabanki, Lucknow, Chandauli, Gonda, Balrampur, Badaun, Firozabad, Shamli and Mirzapur.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has set ambitious targets to increase the area of cultivation of horticultural crops from 11.6 per cent to 16 per cent and food processing units from 6 per cent to a whopping 20 per cent during the period in order to enhance the overall yield as well as processing of fruits, vegetables and spices.
The government seeks to grow quality saplings and seeds at the excellence centres as well as hi-tech nurseries to increase production of quality crops.
The objective behind the government’s move is also to provide sufficient crops for the increasing number of food processing industries.
It is worth mentioning here that Uttar Pradesh has witnessed an increase of 0.7 per cent in the production of fruits and vegetables in the last five years due to expansion of its cultivation in an additional 1.01 lakh hectares.
The Yogi Adityanath government is also promoting protected farming through Indo-Israel technology to grow off-season vegetables.
In the last five years, poly houses/shed nets have been expanded in 177 hectares to enhance yield of flowers and vegetables, benefiting 5,549 farmers.
Dr S.P. Singh, a vegetable scientist, said that the most and marginal farmers effective way to increase the income of farmers in Uttar Pradesh is through the cultivation of all kinds of fruits, vegetables and spices as the state is endowed with nine types of agro-climatic zones.
Singh said that small and marginal farmers, who constitute 90 per cent of the total number of farmers, can play important role in this by growing a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and flowers in suitable climates.
He said most of these farmers are at present engaged in cultivation of traditional crops like paddy, wheat and sugarcane and they need to encouraged to grow fruits, vegetables and flowers for greater financial benefits.