Himachal Pradesh has been declared the Best State in the Country for ‘Adoption of Integrated Approach in the Field of Horticulture’, by Union Ministry of Agriculture at a prestigious function organized in New Delhi last evening where Sharad Pawar, Union Minister for Agriculture presented the Award to the State. It is 56th Award won by the State during past four years.

Chief Minister dedicated the Award to the horticulturists of the State and thanked them for adopting modern technology in managing their horticultural activities. He said that the horticulturists had been putting in hard labour to maintain their orchards and produce quality fruit which was in great demand in different market terminals of the country and abroad. He also congratulated the officers and functionaries of Horticulture Department who had worked over time to achieve such a distinction at national level. He said that the State had progressive horticulturists who were always open to adopt latest technology in the world to increase their yield which had made Himachal Pradesh popular as ‘Apple State of India’ the world over. He said that the horticulture sector was contributing about Rs. 2,200 crore annually which was 5.5 percent to the State Gross Domestic Product and major cash crop of the upper hilly areas happened to be horticulture only. He said that while the upper areas were producing quality apple, lower areas were also contributing immensely by producing peaches, kinnow, mango and other citrus fruit which were bound to make Himachal Pradesh ‘Fruit Bowl of India’.

Prof. Dhumal said that the State had launched ‘Apple Rejuvenation Scheme’ to change root stock of the old orchards with the fast growing and high yield varieties of apple. He said that multiplication of such root stock was taking place at the research centres and University of Horticulture and Forestry besides technical know-how being made available to the growers in such cases. He said that Anti Hail Guns had also been successfully experimented during the preceding apple season which had resulted in saving valuable apple crop valued at several hundred crores of rupees. He said that the State Government was strengthening the marketing network at grass root level besides developing a sprawling modern marketing yard at a cost of Rs. 100 crore at Parala near Theog and similar marketing yard had also been proposed for lower areas. He hoped that with such facilities horticultural activities would get boost and Himachal Pradesh would be in a position to maintain its top position in the country.

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