New Delhi : Manoj Ahuja, Secretary accompanied by Dr. Abhilaksh Likhi, Additional Secretary, & Shri. Prabhat Kumar Horticulture Commissioner, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India, visited Sahyadri Farmers Producer Company Limited village: Mohadi, taluka: Dindori and National Horticulture Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF) Chittagaon, Nashik District of Maharashtra today and also interacted with farmers. Nashik has been selected as one amongst 12 clusters for grapes as the pilot of the Cluster Development Programme initiated by Government of India. The senior officers from the Ministry visited Grapes farms of the farmer member of Sahyadri Farmers Producer Company Ltd. and interacted with the farmer to understand the practices and key factors responsible for production of quality grapes. The farmer shared his experience regarding production of quality grapes and also shared problems being faced with respect to weather vagaries. Maharashtra is the highest producer of grapes in India and Nashik is the highest producer in Maharashtra.
The main objectives of the visit were:
- To understand the functions of Sahyadri Farmers Producer Company Limited, a leading FPO of Maharashtra, India and No.1 grape exporter.
- To interact with the farmers to enhance income through cluster -specific interventions.
- To Address concerns of the horticulture value chain, from pre-production, production, post-harvest management and value addition to logistics, marketing and branding, in an integrated manner to accelerate competitiveness in the domestic and export markets.
- Reduce harvest and post-harvest losses by developing/expanding/upgrading infrastructure for post-harvest handling of produce, value addition and market linkages.
- Facilitate the introduction of innovative technologies and practices to enhance the global competitiveness of focus cluster crops.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India, has launched the Cluster Development Programme (CDP). It is a central sector programme implemented by the National Horticulture Board (NHB). The programme aims to enable holistic growth and development of identified horticulture clusters to make them globally competitive and entrench them into national and global value chains. CDP will benefit about 10 lakh farmers and related stakeholders of the value chain. Aim of this programme is to improve exports of the targeted crops by approx. 20% and create cluster-specific brands to enhance competitiveness of cluster crops. CDP is expected to attract an estimated investment of INR 10,000 crore when implemented in all the 53 clusters. The programme is expected to converge with other initiatives of the Government such as Agriculture Infrastructure Fund which is a medium – long term financing facility for investment in projects for post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets and will leverage the central sector scheme of the Ministry for Formation and Promotion of 10,000 Farmers Producer Organizations (FPOs).
The officers visited Sahyadri Farmers Producer Farmer Facility Center which provides all farming inputs to its farmers, such as fertilizers, pesticides, machinery, testing lab facility for Soil, water & petiole etc. The FPO is also testing pesticides residues in various fruits being grown FPO cluster. This is one of the important center which gives one stop solution and advisory to the farmers. Further officers also saw initiatives for value chain in cotton growers, under which manufacturing unit for cloth making from cotton is being run by FPO. They interacted with the workers of manufacturing unit who shared experiences of their livelihood from FPO.
The officers then visited the R&D farms of Sahyadri Farmers Producer Company to see the performance of various imported varieties of the grapes being grown in R&D farm for further assessment and interacted with the owner and workers of Sam agri company who in turn shared information about the export potential of Pomegranate arils and packaging.
Sahyadri Farmers Producer Company is also involved in training to support various FPO in the region through incubation center which gives end to end solution Capacity building and Development program for FPC. The officers of the Ministry interacted with Board of Directors of Sahyadri Farmers Producer Company Limited to understand the functioning of FPO through presentation given by Shri. Vilas Vishnu Shinde, Chairman and MD of Sahyadri Farmers Producer Company. The farmer’s member gave the insights of success through complete solution given by FPO to farmer members for technological and financial support.
The start-up namely Godam, Sensartics and Vasatogo working on scientific storage of onion, information related to weather and soil with the help of censors and also on logistics involved in horticulture sectors from Nashik region who closely work with Sahyadri Farmer Producer Company shared their experiences and success stories. “Karta Shetkari” (Empowered Farmer) a unique program was also discussed. The main objective of this program is to develop entrepreneur mindset within farming community.
Secretary, MoA & FW interacted with the start-up and encouraged them to be part of ICAR projects. Further scientists from ICAR discussed the challenges in pomegranate cultivation and also emphasized on developing varieties suitable for adverse climatic condition and also boosting up export. Additional Secretary suggested farmers to undertake beekeeping projects.
Later on all the officers also visited NHRDF, Chitegaon, Nashik to see the research activities on Onion & Garlic and NABL accredited Pesticide Residue Analysis laboratory along with other dignitaries of Govt. of India & Govt. of Maharashtra. They inspected different trials in research field, maintenance of 83 Onion germplasm, Nucleus and Breeder’s Seed Production, different types of onion storage at the campus including trials under All India Network Research Project on Onion & Garlic (AINRPOG). They also visited the NABL laboratories viz. Pesticide residue analysis (PRA), Wine testing, Soil & Plant Analysis, Plant Physiology, Bio-control laboratory as well as interacted with scientists.
Secretary, MoA&FW appreciated the contribution of NHRDF for giving 14 varieties of onion and 18 varieties of garlic namely Agrifound Dark Red, Agrifound Light Red, NHRDF Red, NHRDF Red-2, NHRDF Red-4, NHRDF Fursungi & different series of garlic till Yamuna Purple 10. NHRDF is the only agency to maintain the seed chain of Onion & Garlic. NHRDF contributed in organized Onion production of 80 % and Garlic seed bulb production of 100 %. NHRDF is producing Bio agents around 25-30 metric tonnes annually and distributing to farmers in different schemes. Certificate of Pesticide residue analysis is valid internationally because Pesticide Residue Analysis Lab is accredited by NABL, ICAR, NRC-Pune, APEDA, DMI, Govt. of India. Dr. P.K. Gupta, Director presented the achievements as well as the contribution of NHRDF in the country to the farming sector. Sh. Sanjay Holkar, member of NHRDF Management Committee welcomed all the dignitaries & Dr. R. C. Gupta, Incharge, NHRDF, Nashik expressed vote of thanks to the dignitaries.