New Delhi : Dr. Abhilaksh Likhi, IAS, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India, visited the Karnapudiki Village of Narpala Mandal in Ananthapur District to review the Horticulture Cluster Development Programme (HCDP) of National Horticulture Board. Ananthapur for Banana has been selected as a pilot cluster under HCDP. During the visit, Dr. Likhi interacted with the stakeholders of the banana value chain from the cluster. While interacting with the banana growers he highlighted that the programme addresses the challenges of entire value chain, including pre-production, production, post-harvest management, logistics, marketing and branding.
The HCDP is designed to leverage geographical specialisation and promote integrated and market-led development of horticulture clusters. He explained to banana growers the importance of Good Agricultural Practices resulting in getting quality produce which would eventually translate into higher remuneration. He urged block-level horticulture officers to take a workshop with farmers on Cluster Development Programme and make them understand the programme’s aspects and objectives.
Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare has identified 55 horticulture clusters, of which 12 have been selected for the pilot launch of the programme.The clusters of the pilot phase include Shopian (J&K) and Kinnaur (H.P.) for Apple, Lucknow (U.P.), Kutch (Gujarat) and Mahbubnagar (Telangana) for Mango, Anantpur (A.P.) and Theni (T.N.) for Banana, Nasik (Maharashtra) for Grapes, Siphahijala (Tripura) for Pineapple, Solapur (Maharashtra) and Chitradurga (Karnataka) for Pomegranate and West Jaintia Hills (Meghalaya) for Turmeric.
Talking about the reach and impact of the programme, Dr. Likhi said, “Banana Cluster in Ananthapur will benefit about 14,000 banana farmers and related stakeholders of the value chain and will handle approximately 7.5 Lakhs MT of banana. With this programme, we aim to improve exports of the targeted crops by 20-25% and create cluster-specific brands to enhance the competitiveness of cluster crops”.
Dr. Likhi reviewed the overall progress of the programme during interaction with the officers from Andhra Pradesh Horticulture Development Agency, which is appointed as Cluster Development Agency to implement the programme in the cluster. He requested involved officers to ensure that the programme gets implemented in a timely manner and a periodic meeting should take place to review the ongoing activities under the programme. During the visit, Dr. Likhi was accompanied by Commissioner Horticulture, Andhra Pradesh; Director Horticulture, Andhra Pradesh; Director, Horticulture Development Agency, and other officers from the Department of horticulture, Andhra Pradesh.