Himachal okays World Bank-funded horticulture project

Shimla, Aug 5 (IANS) The Himachal Pradesh government on Wednesday approved the World Bank-funded Rs.1,000 crore project to strengthen the state’s horticulture sector that generates more than Rs.3,200 crore annually.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who presided over a cabinet meeting, said the project would help in ensuring better post-harvest management besides strengthening the supply chain and establishing alternative market management.

Under the project, the government approved the creation of a special purpose vehicle to manage the progeny-cum-demonstration orchards and the farms owned or under the possession of horticulture and other departments.

“Apple constitutes about 89 percent of the total fruit production. During 2014-15 (up to December 2014), 581,000 tonnes of apples were produced against 739,000 tonnes in 2013-14,” said the state’s economic survey of 2014-15.

It was 412,000 tonnes of apples in 2012-13 against 275,000 tonnes in 2011-12. In 2010-11, it was a record production of 892,000 tonnes.

The report said the area under apple crop has increased to 107,686 hectares from 3,025 hectares in 1960-61.

Himachal Pradesh’s economy is highly dependent on hydroelectric power, horticulture and tourism.

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