Punjab government’s initiatives which were taken to encourage vegetable cultivation all over the state, have started bearing results. The initiatives in the form of developing vegetable growing clusters by encouraging farmers to form groups and by providing subsidy and marketing facilities besides providing guidance have attracted a significant number of farmers towards vegetable cultivation.
The government approved setting up of vegetable clusters in seven districts of Punjab in December 2015. The approval was given by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal for Amritsar, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Ludhiana, Sangrur,(Malerkotla), Patiala and Fatehgarh Sahib.
Apart from promoting the concept of green-house cultivation of vegetables which is aimed at giving a boost to the bulk sale of vegetables at competitive prices to the consumers, the new initiative has helped growers in fetching more prices. Under the scheme about 15 farmers are being asked to make a group and cultivate the crop on 20 hectares of land.
They are backed by the experts from the agriculture and horticulture department in choosing the quality seeds and planning cultivation besides in marketing of their produce. Each group gets subsidy of Rs 2 lakh and another subsidy of Rs 22500 to 33700 for the cultivation of crop for per hectare.
The farmers can also get subsidy of Rs 2.10 lakh for poly and net houses for vegetable cultivation and 50% subsidy is being given on 4000 square meter area. Also 50% subsidy is being given for setting up of retail shops for marketing of vegetables, formation of vegetable collection center, mobile vending cart and for processing units.
The farmers who are keen can approach the district horticulture officer to form a group, which would be registered under Societies Registration Act-1860.Earlier in 2011, Badal government had announced 50% subsidy on vegetable cultivation to growers. Under the scheme, which aimed at benefiting small and medium size farmers, the government started providing one-time grant of Rs 50,000 for a net house covering of 500 square meter area.
Besides, a subsidy on pesticide and anti-fungus medicines is proving useful in sustaining the quality of vegetables. Also subsidy is also being provided for setting up of retail outlets, vegetable collection centers, mobile vending card and processing units for marketing. District horticulture directors have been asked to help farmers in availing all these benefits so that they do not have to run around.
The State Horticulture Department had already signed an MoU with Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA). It was proposed that these vegetable producers would be facilitated to get their produce exported in the international market besides they would be helped to access assured distant domestic marketing.
BOX: Encouraging Fruits and Vegetables Cultivation
The Horticulture Department of the state has a crucial role to play in what experts say encouraging farmers into crops diversification. The department which came into existence in 1980 after it dislocated from the agriculture department. The main objective of the department is to encourage farmers to engage themselves in cultivating fruits, flowers and vegetables.