Assurances given for development of horticulture ignored
The state government's major promise to transform the district into a 'horticulture hub' did not make any headway during the past 5 years.
Anantapur: The state government's major promise to transform the district into a 'horticulture hub' did not make any headway during the past 5 years. In fact, the district is already a horticulture hub as more than 20 varieties of fruits are raised and many of them are exported to other states and countries.
The district has large number of fruit producers, but devoid of basic infrastructure facilities like food processing units, packing houses, ripening chambers, cold storages and laboratories to test the presence of chemical residues.
Mango pulp and guava pulp are in great demand in the western countries as the pulps of several fruits are used in the making of fruit drinks. "The district needs common facility centres and laboratories to export chemical free fruits,'' says Bhushan Reddy, a horticulture farmer of Garladinne mandal.
Many promises had been made by the previous TDP government to make the district a horticulture hub. But the state horticulture department had not taken initiatives in tune with the promises.
An estimated 1,86,604 acres are under horticulture cultivation in the district and 58,972 acres are under vegetable cultivation. With Krishna water diversion to Rayalaseema through Hundri Neeva project and filling of village tanks, horticulture is poised for expansion.
Bananas, Pomegranates, Custard Apples, Grapes, Guava, Figs(anjuram), Mangoes, Musk Melon, Water Melon, Honey Melon, Papayya, Sweet Limes, Lose Jackets, Goose Berries, Straw berries and Black Berries etc. are among the fruits grown here.
The gross value of the fruits exported every year from the district is Rs.8,000 crores. While investment on the plantations is Rs.400 crores, the production is to the order of 40 lakh tonnes," says Deputy director of Horticulture Subbarayudu.
Most of the fruits are exported to Vijayawada, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, New Delhi, Mumbai,Chennai and even to countries like USA, Middle East and to Western Countries.
The department of Horticulture is extending subsidies up to 40 percent on plants raised apart from incentives like maintenance of the plants for three years etc. Many things had been promised. but nothing had been done practically, farmers say.