Centre's eyes in sky to boost horticulture output

Centre's eyes in sky to boost horticulture output
In a bid to boost India's horticulture output, the Centre is relying on eyes in the sky to seek guidance on what crops should a farmer sow in his land to reap a better harvest.

Implemented in 185 districts – mostly in Eastern and Northeastern parts of the country - Project Chaman (Coordinated Horticulture Assessment and Management) helps agriculturalists identify crops suitable for different climatic zones, a move that would help farmer increase their income.

Under Project Chaman, the Ministry of Agriculture will use remote sensing and geoinformatics data to integrate information on weather, soil, land use and crop mapping to prepare horticulture development plans.

The information would be further used to create horticulture hubs in various states and help them develop related infrastructure such as cold chains.

Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said the project would help in accurate forecasting of area and production of seven horticulture crops – banana, citrus, mango, potato, onion, tomato and chilli – that have been selected for the pilot phase.

Singh said the interim reports of the project would be provided to the state governments which could be used for development of post-harvest infrastructure in the identified regions.

“This project will be completed by March,” he said, adding that the methodology used for the seven crops would be extended to all the states.

Singh said the ministry would extend the remote sensing technology to other horticulture crops in future.

India is the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world, and a top producer of crops such as banana, mango and lemons.

In 2016-17, production of horticulture crops such as fruits, vegetables and spices touched a record high of 300 million tonnes, which was more than the output of food grains for the fifth consecutive year.

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