: Cultivation of crops using poly houses has been gaining momentum in the hill station, thanks to implementation of National Horticulture Mission (NHM) and abundant enthusiasm and overwhelming response from farmers.
Thandigudi is one of the fast developing areas for poly house cultivation. Regionally differentiated strategies and enhanced horticulture production have ensured income and support to farmers.
Agro-climatic conditions and soil are so conducive for producing flowers like Carnation, Zerbera and other export varieties and horticulture crops like cocoa and mandarin orange that help farmers get better price.
Farmers in Kodaiknal block are keen on developing new fruit orchards and flower gardens under the NHM. The mission offers a subsidy of Rs.30,000 per hectare for mandarin orange, Rs.16,875 per hectare for banana, Rs.12,000 per hectare for cocoa, Rs.37,500 per hectare for cost-intensive aromatic plants, Rs.20,000 per hectare for black pepper and Rs.35,000 per hectare for cut flowers. Farmers will get a subsidy for 4,000 square metre, at 50 per cent subsidy cost limited to Rs.325 per square metre, said Deputy Director for Horticulture (Central Schemes) S. Raja Mohammad.
The results of the mission are encouraging. Large tracts of cultivable wasteland are brought under horticultural crop cultivation, particularly fruit crops.
A target of 200 hectares under mandarin orange, 275 hectares under hill banana, 300 hectares under cocoa, 25 hectares under spices, 300 hectares under pepper and 75 hectares under cut flowers are earmarked for Kodaikanal for this year under NHM and Rs.78 lakhs has been allotted for this purpose. The main objective of NHM is to promote, develop and disseminate technologies to horticulturists and floriculturists. With a blend of traditional wisdom and modern scientific knowledge, employment opportunities have been created for skilled and unskilled persons, especially unemployed youths, he added.
Strategies of NHM were diversification, increase acreage of orchards and plantation crops, boost production and productivity, minimising risk of small and marginal farmers, addressing challenges of climatic variability, maintaining ecological balance and reducing green house gases, said Mr. Raja Mohammad.
Those who are interested in poly house cultivation may contact Kodaikanal Assistant Director of Horticulture K.J. Kishore Kumar or Assistant Agriculture Officers concerned, he added.