Shimla: Himachal Pradesh is leading producer of Apple in the Country and to provide uniform law relating to the better regulation of buying and selling of agricultural produce and the establishment of markets for agricultural produce throughout the State, the state agriculture marketing board implementing and making arrangement of better marketing system to provide competitive prices, payment and creating exploitation fee atmosphere by stopping illegal activities in the marketing of Agricultural Produce through its Agricultural Produce Market Committees.
Agriculture and Horticulture sector has experienced spectacular development in this hilly state. Marketing Board is working hard to provide rightful price to farmers produce and effectively introducing reforms in the Agriculture Sector.
Himachal Pradesh has repealed the old Act and enacted new A.P.M.C. Act namely-Himachal Pradesh Agricultural and Horticultural Produce Marketing (Development & Regulation) Act, 2005, General Rules, financial Rules, Byelaws framed there under. This Act has come into force w.e.f. 26.5.2005. Himachal Pradesh is the first State in the country to take lead in this regard. It provides for setting up the private markets, consumer/farmers market, and creation of post harvest infrastructure in the State. This law is implemented in the state with full vigour.
Agriculture is the major contributor to the total domestic product and thus GDP has overall impact on other sectors vis-a-vis input linkages, pre-harvest, productions Technology marketing & distribution and employment and trade Apni Mandi Scheme has been launched in the State to benefit farmers. Apple cultivation is made viable in the state, “Apple Re- plantation Project” has been started. Out of total geographical area is 55.67 lac hectares. A area of operational holdings is about 9.79 lac hectare, owned by 10.00 lac farmers in the state. Himachal Pradesh has emerged as a leading economy in the Country and is also a leader in Hill Area Development Agriculture & Horticulture revolution.
Today, Himachal Pradesh has emerged as an important fruit & vegetables growing State in the country. The State is providing excellent quality of temperate fruits like apple, pear, stone fruits, nuts, etc. and sub-tropical fruits like mango, litchi, guava, citrus fruits etc. New fruits crops like-kiwi, strawberry, olive, hazelnuts etc. have been introduced in recent years. Besides flowers, vegetables, mushrooms, hops, honey, tea, medicinal and aromatic plants etc. are also being grown in the State.
The agro-climatic conditions of Himachal Pradesh are extremely suitable for growing different varieties of fruits. Apple is the most important amongst all. The peak marketing season for apple is August to September. During 2011, the apple production was 2, 75,036 MT alone out of total fruit production of 3.72823 MT. Apart from this, there is vast potential of growing other temperate fruits. The area under fruits was 792 hac in 1950-51 with total production of 1200 tonnes which has increased drastically to 2.08 Lac hac. with total fruit production of 10.27 lac M tonnes during 2010.
Vegetable production has increased from 25000 M tonnes during 1951-52 to 5,30,000 tonnes during 1966-67 & 12.68 lac tones during 2010-11. It further increased during 2010-11-12 to 13,56,600 MT. Major vegetables include Peas, French bean, Cauliflower, Root Crops, Potato, Cucurbits, Onion, Garlic, Capsicum, Tomato, Cauliflower, Cabbage, etc. Area and production of different vegetables in the state is as under:
Like wise per farmer production of fruits, ranges from 2.47 quintals to 89 quintals. A orchardist retains 0.12 to 13.0 quintals of fruits for his domestic consumption and sells 2.35 to 76 quintals in the market. Marketable surplus of fruits in Himachal Pradesh ranges from 85.4 to 97.1 %. It is higher for larges farms than the small farms.
Market Regulation & Development:
In order to regulate the sale, purchase, storage, processing and to establish the Regulated Markets for agricultural produce the State of Himachal Pradesh took initiative introducing the Agricultural Marketing Reforms as per guidelines of the Model Act. 131 items have been notified so far included in the schedule of the Act, 2005.
Construction of Market Yards, Modernization and Expansion of Existing Market Yards:
The most of the principal market yards/sub yards are lacking modern marketing facilities. There is urgent need to expand the handling capacity and provide modern marketing facilities in the years. Marketing Board has taken initiative to expand and modernize the marketing yards and add few more to facilitate farmers. Board has open new marketing yard at Jahu in Hamirpur, Karsog, Prawanoo Phase-II and Sadupul in Solan district and Ghumarwin in Bilaspur.
Marketing yards at Chauribihal and Nirmand in Kullu district, Parala in Shimla and Multhan, Gular and Palampur Phase-II in Kangra district are under construction and will be completed soon.
Marketing board has also new Proposals for Construction of Market Yards at Bandrol in Kullu, Badshali in Una, Rohru-II, Tapri and Anu (Kuddu) in Shimla & Kinnaur, Wakanaghat in Solan and Fatehpur in Kangra district.
The income of APMC’S from market fees are also increasing as in 2008-09 it was 16 crore and now in 2013-14 (upto 5-10-2013) it’s 28.90 crore.
Farmer’s awareness Camps:
To get adequate yields and returns of their produce, Board organising farmer’s awareness camps to make them aware of post harvest management, and other important components of agricultural marketing, i.e. market regulation, food safety & quality, grading and standardization, market information and good agricultural practices etc.
Agricultural Marketing Information system (AGMARKNET):
Market information is needed by farmers in planning production and marketing, and equally needed by other market participants in arriving at optimal trading decisions. The existence and dissemination of complete and accurate marketing information is the key to achieve both operational and pricing efficiency in the marketing system. This NICNET-based Agricultural Marketing Information Network AGMARKNET scheme is being implemented in Himachal Pradesh for empowerment of the farmers through market information under Marketing Research and Information Network (MRIN). 39 seasonal and regular markets, have been covered which are reporting daily arrival and wholesale price data to this portal regularly. This daily arrival and price information Network of all these markets remains available at National Bulletin of Agricultural Marketing Information Network: www.agmarknet.nic.in. with other markets of the country.
Himachal Pradesh is also participating in another Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) ‘Mission Mode Project (MMP) on agriculture’ under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP). Phase-I of this new scheme on Agriculture MMP (NeGP-A) has been launched at the Centre and across seven States- Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnatka and Kerla and implemented for a period of 3 years. 19 computer has been installed in various market yards in Himahcal Pradesh w.e.f. 25-12-2012 to 30.09-2013.
Strengthening of marketing infrastructure in production areas through involvement of Agricultural Produce Market Committees, Co-operative, small farmers groups in clusters and Private Sector will not only help farmers to get more income through greater participation in a more efficient rural market & inclusive growth but provide further impetus for diversification and bring more employment and prosperity in rural areas of Himachal Pradesh. The availability of marketing infrastructure i.e. small markets/ collection centres in the production area will also solve the problems of marketing of produce in distant markets and they will save in term of cost of transportation, transit losses and miscellaneous charges
Subhash Chand Manglate, Chairman, Marketing board said that Virbhadra Singh led state government working hard to ensure welfare of the all section of the state. He said that main focus of board is to integration and strengthening of marketing network. He said that board also modernization and expanding its existing yards and also providing therein grading and packing lines, repining chambers cold/ CA Stores, adequate auction platform and other facilities.