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Fruit & Vegetable Cultivation Surges from 7.2% to 9.2% in Uttar Pradesh

The agricultural landscape in Uttar Pradesh is undergoing a transformation, with the cultivation of fruits and vegetables presenting vast opportunities for farmers.

Shivam Dwivedi
Fruit & Vegetable Cultivation Surges from 7.2% to 9.2% in Uttar Pradesh (Photo Source: Pixabay)
Fruit & Vegetable Cultivation Surges from 7.2% to 9.2% in Uttar Pradesh (Photo Source: Pixabay)

The farmers of Uttar Pradesh are witnessing a remarkable shift towards the cultivation of fruits and vegetables, with immense possibilities opening up in the agricultural sector, according to the recently released Agroforestry Report of 2023.

The state government, under the leadership of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, has been consistently urging farmers to diversify their crop cultivation in response to market demand, ensuring better income opportunities.  The cultivation revolution in the state can be attributed to several factors, including the production of high-quality plants in Centers of Excellence and Mini Centers of Excellence, which are then provided to farmers at minimal rates. Additionally, controlled temperature and humidity techniques have been introduced for protected cultivation, while efforts have been made to modernize the agricultural markets (Mandis).

Over the past decade, Uttar Pradesh has witnessed a substantial increase in its share of fruit and vegetable cultivation, rising from 7.2 percent to 9.2 percent of the country's total cultivation. Simultaneously, the Gross Value Output (GVO) derived from this sector has grown from Rs 20,600 crore to Rs 38,000 crore, indicating significant economic progress.

Recognizing the enormous potential of fruits and vegetables for domestic consumption and international markets, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has consistently encouraged farmers to embrace this opportunity since his first term. When the Yogi Government took office for the second time in the state over a year ago, it established ambitious targets for the Department of Agriculture, aiming to expand the area of cultivation, increase yield, and promote processing over the next five years.

Under this plan, the area devoted to horticultural crops is set to expand from 11.6 percent to 16 percent, and food processing from 6 percent to 20 percent in Uttar Pradesh by 2027. The expansion is in anticipation of numerous processing units that will require large-scale supplies of fruits and vegetables as raw materials.

Ensuring the availability of high-quality planting material, such as plants and seeds, is crucial for achieving the set targets in horticulture. To this end, the government is establishing excellence centers, mini excellence centers, and hi-tech nurseries in every district within a stipulated timeframe. Several centers of excellence, including those in Chandauli, Kaushambi, Saharanpur, Lucknow, Kushinagar, and Hapur, are currently under construction. Functional mini centers of excellence and hi-tech nurseries are already benefiting districts like Bahraich, Ambedkar Nagar, Mau, Fatehpur, Aligarh, Rampur, and Hapur. Construction of mini centers of excellence/hi-tech nurseries is also underway in districts like Sonbhadra, Moradabad, Agra, Sant Kabir Nagar, Mahoba, Jhansi, Barabanki, Lucknow, Chandauli, Gonda, Balrampur, Badaun, Firozabad, Shamli, and Mirzapur. The government aims to establish such infrastructure in every district by 2027.

As a result of government support and the increasing potential, the area under fruit and vegetable cultivation has expanded by more than 1.01 lakh hectares, while the yield has increased by over 0.7 percent in the past six years.

To provide farmers with quality plants, the Indo-Israel Centers of Excellence for Fruits and Vegetables were established in Basti and Kannauj, respectively. These centers focus on cultivating high-quality plants and vegetables, even out of season, by employing advanced techniques to control moisture and temperature. The promotion of protected cultivation, leveraging Indo-Israeli technology, has been an ongoing endeavor, leading to the expansion of 177 hectares of polyhouse/shed net for the production of flowers and vegetables in the last five years. This initiative has benefitted 5,549 farmers, and efforts are being made to continue and expand this trend in Yogi-2.0.

Vegetable scientist SP Singh emphasized the significance of fruit, vegetable, and spice cultivation as the most effective means of increasing farmers' income in Uttar Pradesh. Given the state's diverse agro-climatic zones, various types of fruits, vegetables, and flowers can be grown in different regions.

Small and marginal farmers, who constitute about 90 percent of the farming population and traditionally engage in cultivating crops like paddy, wheat, and sugarcane, will play a crucial role in this shift. By encouraging them to cultivate fruits, vegetables, and flowers, their income can be significantly enhanced.

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