‘Odisha has not fully utilised horticulture mission funds’

Bhubaneswar: Odisha could not fully utilise grant of Rs 54.45 crore to operationalise the Horticulture Mission last year, Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said today and hoped the state would use the entire amount received from the Centre this year.

“To operationalise Horticulture Mission in Odisha, an amount of Rs 54.45 crore was released for 2015-16, but the state could not spend Rs 4.15 crore last year,” Singh said addressing farmers on World Coconut Day and National Award presentation ceremony held here.

Stating that Odisha would get Rs 49.91 crore from the Centre for the mission this year, he said so far Rs 26.83 crore had already been released to the state where National Horticulture Mission has been operational under the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH).

The main objective of the mission is to promote overall development of bamboo and coconut plantation sector through area based regional strategies.

Nearly a quarter of the mission s budget should be on post-harvest infrastructure management, especially to build the cold supply chain and to link farmers producers directly to market should, he said.

In the last two years, National Horticulture Board has provided assistance of Rs 6.50 crore to develop horticulture in Odisha through plans like greenhouse, polly house and cold storage. Several cashew promotion units have been established in Odisha’s Koraput and Ganjam districts, he said.

The contribution of coconut in the country’s GDP is about Rs 20,000 crore. In 2015-16 coconut products worth Rs 1,450 crore were exported from India.

India’s coconut production stood at 2044 crore grown in 19.8 lakh hectare, while coconut productivity per hectare is 10345, the union minister said adding over one crore people in the country were dependent on it for livelihood.

In Odisha coconut is a major crop and is cultivated in over 50679 hectares and its production is 32.4 crore. The state produces 6404 coconuts per hectare.

The Coconut Development Board contributes towards the growth of coconut industry, the minister said adding the Technology Mission on coconut under the Board has established 402 coconut processing units where 242 crore coconuts are processed per year. .