Telangana mulls becoming self-reliant in veggies, fruits

Hyderabad: Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao on Wednesday asked the officials to prepare a plan to make the state self-sufficient in vegetables and fruits.

As there is more demand for fruits and vegetables in the urban areas, he called for encouraging farmers in the periphery areas of the urban regions to grow vegetables and fruits. He said this would benefit both farmers and consumers.

KCR, as Rao is popularly known, gave the directions at a meeting with officials and agriculture experts on the strategy to be implemented for regulatory cultivation from monsoon season.

The government has already announced that under the proposed policy, the farmers would have to grow what the agriculture department suggests based on the inputs of the experts and the demand for such produce in the market.

The chief minister also called for cultivating potatoes, onions and garlic in the state. “People use potato, onions and garlic in a big way. We are importing them. Cultivate them in the State. Offer guidance to farmers on where they should grow these crops, what are the better quality cultivation methods and other such issues.”

Noting every year there is uncertainty and lack of clarity about the availability and price of onions, he said onions should be grown in tune with the demand. He stressed the need for implementing a strategy so that there is no scarcity of onions in the state.

KCR asked the agriculture department to be continuously alert and prepare strategies so that farmers would inculcate the habit of cultivating those crops, which are in demand in the market.

He feels that by cultivating crops, which are in demand in the market, agriculture would become profitable and farmers would never face a situation where they would not get a good price of their produce.

The official machinery with the support and cooperation from farmers would make the Regulatory Farming Policy, a grand success for the overall benefit of the farming community in the state.

KCR believes that though food security was achieved in the country, nutritional food security has still not been achieved. “People are eating whatever they could but not the food with nutritional values and proteins. People should be encouraged to eat food with rich vitamins; proteins and crops should be cultivated in tune with this concept. Along with the life expectancy of the people, their immune system to fight diseases should also be improved,” he said.

He asked the officials to find out which types of crops have great demand in the world market. Based on this data, the crops should be cultivated in the state.

KCR said the government was appointing the Agriculture Products Marketing Committee comprising experts to study the demand of agriculture products worldwide, marketing, pricing and other related issues. It will recommend which crops should be cultivated for a profit.

The chief minister called for the need to increase yield in the agriculture sector through scientific use of fertilisers and pesticides, sowing of quality seeds and mechanization. The government will appoint an Agriculture Research Committee to study and make suitable recommendations for cultivation methods.

As cotton is grown over a vast area, the government will constitute a Cotton Research and Development Centre to support Cotton growers, to make suggestions on how to increase the output, to study and recommend which type of cotton has the market and other related matters.