Assam’s economy since long is been mainly based on agriculture. 75 percent of the population is directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture which accommodates 53 percent of the total workforce of the state. The contribution of the agriculture sector to the state economy i.e. GSDP at current prices during 2012-13 as per provisional estimates was 19.3 percent. It is also contributes indirectly to the state economy as important sources of raw materials and demand for many industrial products particularly fertilizer, pesticides, agricultural implements and a variety of consumer goods based on agriculture.
Horticulture crops occupy about 15 percent of the gross cultivated area of Assam. It is basically the science of cultivating gardens or orchards i.e. it refers to the process of cultivating fruits, vegetables, flowers and ornamental plants which in turn increases the area and productivity of farming lands, bringing technological aspect in agriculture, raising the farmers’ income and their standard of living and provide source of employment opportunities.
The state of Assam is traditionally wealthy in respect of production of various horticultural crops due to its conducive agro climatic conditions. The state with diverse soil and weather conditions provide good scope to grow a large variety of fruits and vegetables and it is one of the richest reservoir’s of genetic variability a number of crops like Citrus, Guava, Mango, Rice and Maize etc. and the world citrus belt encompasses Assam within it.
Among the eight crops under vegetables the coverage of area under cultivation of cabbage has been found the highest followed by cauliflower, tomato and brinjal. During the years from 2003-04 to 2012-13 the production of vegetable crop has increased substantially. The soil and Climatic conditions of the state are suitable for production of various vegetables but due to improper storage facilities it results in post-harvest losses.
In respect of fruits it is observed that during 2003-04, the highest area was covered by Banana followed by Jackfruits, Pineapple, Lemon and Orange while Litchi, Guava and Mango covered less area. During 2012-13 the areas of fruits has substantially increased in respect of Banana followed by Jackfruit, Orange, Pineapple and Lemon where as Litchi, Mango and Guava still covered the lowest areas.
Spices and Tubers
The soil and climate of the State is conducive for the production of turmeric, ginger, black pepper, cashew nut and coconut. The State has one of the highest yields in the country of ginger and turmeric and yet whatever growth has taken place in the sector has been largely because of private initiative rather than because of any defined Government policy. Similarly for cashew nut there is great potential of production in Goalpara and Dhubri districts but this potential has been harnessed by private enterprise rather than government effort.
It should be emphasized that Horticulture and Food processing is one area where the State has the maximum potential for growth and this is the area where profit maximization for the farmers can occur and the sector also has tremendous potential as an avenue of employment generation as well as for the industrialization of the State. However, the full potential of the State has not been utilized because of lack of focus and government support.
In order to improve the quality and yield of these crops thereby increasing the income per unit area following multi pronged approach is needed
- Increase in use of tissue culture for planting materials by encouraging private enterprise in the area.
- Introduction and field application of latest technology through national and international collaboration and through research and extension.
- Grow a particular crop in compact belt with a view to assist the growth of Agro processing Industry for that crop in that region.
- Balanced development of all subsectors of the Horticulture Industry, viz. post harvest handling, post harvest quality control and marketing. There is need of creating storage facilities at the farms.
- Small processing and Agri processing units to reduce wastage and generate employment.
- Increase in cultivation and exploration of medicinal and aromatic plants.
Department of Horticulture
Department of Horticulture set up with following objects
- Promote, finance and support producer owned and controlled organizations.
- Facilitate Transformation of traditional farming system into a commercial and technology based sustainable enterprise to maximize farmer’s farm income.
- Facilitate the promotion , consolidation and sustainability of farming business by facilitating quality services viz. knowledge technology, credit, inputs, marketing and value addition under business partnership model.
- Facilitate the growth of Agribusiness in the state for Farmers, Social, Corporate and Environmental Good.
- Facilitate the generation of increase donfarm and offfarm employment.
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