Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu is keen on developing horticulture sector which plays a key role in the state’s growth engines, contributing more than 25 per cent to the GVA.
The GVA target for 2016-17 in horticulture sector set at Rs 49,845 cr. To achieve the target the state government has been implementing several state and centrally sponsored schemes. The government has been focusing on replacing less remunerative field crops with crops like Mango, Sweet organge, Acid lime, banana, papaya, pomegranate, guava, oil palm, cocoa, apple ber, Thai guava and dragon fruit.
Of the total target 32,513 hectares 14,310 hectares has been replaced with the above plantations. In addition, rejuvenation and canopy management is being taken up in crops like Mango, sweet organge, acid lime and cashew for improvement in productivity.
The state government is concentrating more on providing water resources to horticulture sector by promoting farm ponds to save the plants at critical stages of crop growth during drought period. In addition the state government has been encouraging farmers towards cultivation of vegetables.
During the recently concluded kharif season vegetable cultivation covers 1,09,008 hectares against normal area of 1,11,737 hectares. The horticulture department has provided hybrid vegetable seeds for 3,813 hectares with fifty per cent subsidy.
The department of horticulture is implementing the plantation programme, under MGNREGS by providing technical support in identification of beneficiaries and selection of crops. The government has been encouraging farmers to switchover micro irrigation to conserve water and bring additional area under cultivation.
ICRISAT and RARS Tirupati have been given a target of 7,500 number of soil samples each to analyse profile samples for issuing the soil health cards exclusively to orchard owners in the state. So far soil analysis was completed in 1,3701 number of samles and soil health cards are being generated.
The farmers are being encouraged to adopt organic farming and certification is being promoted in Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, Prakasam, Kurnool, Anantapuram, Chittorr and Krishna for Mango, Cashew and Vegetables.
As part of the state government’s initiative to provide value addition to horticulture sector a total number of 181 food processing organizations were identified. Eleven companies have entered into MoU with Govt of Andhra Pradesh for value chain development of agriculture and allied commodities at Anantapur .