To ensure holistic growth of horticulture, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar has virtually launched the Horticulture Cluster Development Programme (CDP).
In a pilot phase, the programme will be implemented in 12 horticulture clusters out of the total 53 clusters selected for the programme. A central sector programme implemented by the National Horticulture Board (NHB) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, CDP aims at growing and developing identified horticulture clusters to make them globally competitive.
Tomar, in his speech, on Monday, highlighted that the programme will address all major issues related to the Indian horticulture sector including pre-production, production, post-harvest management, logistics, marketing and branding. The programme is designed to leverage geographical specialisation and promote integrated and market-led development of horticulture clusters. The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare (MoA&FW) has identified 53 horticulture clusters, of which 12 have been selected for the pilot launch of the programme. Based on the learnings fr0m the pilot project, the programme will be scaled up to cover all the identified clusters.
Talking about the reach and impact of the programme, Tomar said, “Doubling farmers’ income is one of the biggest priorities of our government. CDP will benefit about 10 lakh farmers and related stakeholders of the value chain. With this programme, we aim to improve exports of the targeted crops by approx. 20 per cent and create cluster-specific brands to enhance the competitiveness of cluster crops.” CDP is expected to attract an estimated investment of INR 10,000 crore when implemented in all the 53 clusters.
The clusters of the pilot phase include Shopian (J&K) and Kinnaur (H.P.) for Apple, Lucknow (U.P.), Kutch (Gujarat) and Mahbubnagar (Telangana) for Mango, Anantpur (A.P.) and Theni (T.N.) for Banana, Nasik (Maharashtra) for Grapes, Siphahijala (Tripura) for Pineapple, Solapur (Maharashtra) and Chitradurga (Karnataka) for Pomegranate and West Jaintia Hills (Meghalaya) for Turmeric. These clusters will be implemented through Cluster Development Agencies (CDAs) which are appointed on the recommendations of the respective State/UT Government.
The programme is expected to converge with other initiatives of the Government such as the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund which is a medium – long term financing facility for investment in projects for post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets and will leverage the central sector scheme of the Ministry for Formation and Promotion of 10,000 Farmers Producer Organisations (FPOs).
The Cluster Development Programme has a huge potential to transform the entire horticulture ecosystem improving its global competitiveness by building last-mile connectivity with the use of multimodal transport for the efficient and timely evacuation and transport of horticulture produce.
In his address, Minister of State for the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Parshottam Rupala stated that “there is need to develop such clusters throughout the country which will help the farmers with the small size of holdings through the formation of FPOs”.
The Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare Sanjay Agarwal announced the appointment of Cluster Development Agencies (CDAs)in the selected clusters.
“The programme framework will ensure an astute engagement of state governments through CDAs, and institutionalization of learnings for future replication and scaling up of the programme in other clusters. The Cluster Development Programme will not only help in achieving economies of scale but also create cluster-specific brands to entrench them into national and global value chains bringing higher remuneration to the farmers”, he stated.
The event was also attended by Dr Abhilaksh Likhi, Additional Secretary, MoA&FW, other senior officers of the Ministry, Shri. Rajbir Singh, Managing Director, NHB and officials of APEDA. The senior officers of the Cluster States/UTs and officers fr0m the State Horticulture Missions also joined the virtual launch of the ceremony.