Chandigarh: With the Punjab government encouraging farmers to opt for crop diversification to take them away from wheat-paddy cultivation, the area under horticulture crops in the agrarian state has increased by 68 percent in the past decade, an official said on Sunday.
"Diversification has shown quantitative change in Punjab as the area under horticultural crops has increased by 68 percent during 2004-05 to 2014-15," said a horticulture department spokesman.
"The 10-year-long success story of horticulture has also led to an increase in GDP share of horticultural produce to agricultural produce from 6.44 percent in 2004-05 to 10.15 percent in 2014-15," he pointed out.
While the total area under horticultural crops went up from 2.1 lakh hectares in 2004-05 to 3.11 lakh hectares in 2014-15, the percentage of horticultural area to total cropped area increased from 2.78 to 3.95 percent during this period.
Production of horticulture crops has gone up from 33.84 lakh metric tonnes (MT) in 2004-05 to 59 lakh MT in 2014-15. Horticultural productivity has gone up by nearly three lakh MT per hectare in this period.
"Punjab's crop diversification programme has produced spectacular results and the agrarian state is leading the country in horticulture. Breaking the vicious circle of paddy-wheat production, farmers of the state has yielded 74 percent increase in production, 48 percent increase in area and 18 percent more productivity of horticultural crops for the food bowl of the country," said the spokesman.
Occupying only 1.54 percent of the total geographical area of the country, Punjab accounts for about 25 percent of India's total cropped area under horticulture.
"The Punjab horticulture department has been successful in bringing 77,751 hectares of area under fruit plantation in the state," the spokesman pointed out.
The fruits being grown in Punjab include kinnow, sweet orange, lime, lemon, mango, litchi, guava, pear, peach, plum, grapes, ber, amla, and banana.
The Punjab government has established citrus estates and facilities such as leaf and soil testing laboratory, latest spraying and pruning equipments etc. are being provided to the farmers which help in reducing the cost of production, the spokesman said.