Horticulture sector has played a key role in the economy of the farmers of the State during the past over five decades as now horticulture has become the major source of livelihood in the hilly region of Himachal Pradesh. The state has long been regarded as a horticultural state due to magnificent achievements in the production of fruits, mainly apple, various temperate fruits such as peach, pear, plum, apricot and the subtropical fruit crops such as mango, citrus, litchi, etc.
The Cluster Development Programme (CDP) has a great potential to transform the entire horticulture ecosystem by creating last-mile connectivity with the use of multimode transport for efficient and timely evacuation and transportation of horticulture produce. The CDP will also create cluster-specific brands, while helping the economy, to integrate them into national and global value chains, thereby providing higher remuneration to farmers.
The cluster-based approach in horticulture crops will facilitate production, post-harvest management, marketing and branding of crops. It will reduce post-harvest losses and ensure better price of their produce to the farmers and establish new dimensions in the field of horticulture in Himachal Pradesh, stated Chief Minister, Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu.
The state government is mulling to implement this program successfully in the state in order to improve crop production and create cluster-specific brands to enhance the competitiveness of cluster crops, he said. This will also help in attracting investment in the horticulture sector, thereby giving boost to economic activities in the rural areas of the State.
The cluster development agency will redress all the queries and problems of the farmers under the cluster development programme. Himachal Pradesh State Agricultural Marketing Board has been appointed as cluster development agency in the state to study various aspects of this programme.
The State Horticulture Department has been appointed as the nodal agency for the implementation of this program in the state, which will coordinate with the National Horticulture Board, whereas HPMC will work as implementing agency for the programme. No doubt, in the times to come, this programme is bound to transform the economy of the farmers of the State and change the horticulture scenario of the State.