NELLORE: Major incentives are being offered to farmers in Nellore district for switching over to horticulture crops like sweet lime, acid lime, mango, papaya and guava, among others. In particular, Horticulture Department in the district is enticing farmers of upland areas, where no irrigation facilities are available.
Though initial investment and waiting period for generating revenue is higher for horticulture than for crops, such as paddy, horticulture is a better option, department’s assistant director Pradeep said. He pointed out that horticulture crops are a one-time investment for continuing to generate sustainable income for 20 to 30 years.
Further, the state government is offering many incentives for growing horticulture crops. These include subsidies to the extent of 40 percent for horticulture crops and Rs 75,000 subsidy for farm ponds, which can be used for rainwater harvesting and storing groundwater pumped into the pond.
Similarly, Rs 2 lakh is being given for constructing a pack house meant for grading, sorting and packing fruit crops, Rs 16,000 per hectare for putting plastic mulching material to maintain moisture in the roots of plants and subsidies for drip irrigation and sprinklers. Moreover, farmers with job cards can use NREGS component towards pitting, planting and maintenance.
Incidentally, the department has also fixed targets for officials to increase the horticulture crop area in the district. For instance, the Nellore assistant director (AD) has to increase the horticulture cultivation area by 500 hectares. AD Pradeep said horticulture crops are being grown in the district over 53,508 hectares with production of 9,90,969 metric tonnes of crop, including vegetables, acid lime, mango, sweet orange, papaya, vegetables, and flowers.
In fact, vegetables grown over 8,247 hectares are being sent to Chennai, Guntur and Martur in Prakasam district. Similarly, flowers, such as lilly, jasmine and marigold are grown on 1,010 hectares with 5,150-tonne produce being sent to Chennai and local markets.