Haryana looks at newer pastures for farming

By Jaideep Sarin, IANS
Saturday, January 1, 2011

CHANDIGARH - Horticulture, floriculture, vegetable cultivation and fish farming - Haryana’s agricultural fields that contributed significantly to the country’s Green Revolution are now gradually diversifying to newer areas.

Farmers in the state, who are diversifying from the routine wheat-paddy cycle of crops, say they find the new farming activities more beneficial, especially in terms of the returns.

“Horticulture crops, vegetables, flowers and fish farming are newer areas that Haryana farmers are getting into,” Dhanpat Singh, a farmer based near Kurukshetra town, 110 km from here, told IANS.

“The returns in these areas are much better and farmers do not have to wait endlessly to get their payments as most of the produce is sold to the organised sector like the hospitality industry,” he added.

The farming community in Haryana is exploring newer activities even as the state and its neighbour Punjab remain the foodgrain states of the country, contributing over 70 percent of the buffer stock of foodgrains, mainly wheat and rice, to the national kitty.

Officials of the state’s horticulture department say the area under horticulture crops is increasing in Haryana.

“The area under horticulture crops in Haryana has reached about 5.64 percent of the total cropped area due to the state government’s drive to motivate farmers to grow them in place of traditional crops,” a senior horticulture department official said here.

“During 2009-10, the area under vegetable cultivation touched 300,860 hectares and its production crossed the mark of 40 lakh (four million) tonnes,” he said.

“Apart from this, farmers are also taking keen interest in replacing their traditional crops by other commercial horticulture crops like flowers and spices,” he added.

“During the current financial year fruit production (up to November) of over 1.82 lakh tonnes had been achieved by bringing 2,685 hectares of additional area under fruit cultivation and the total area increased to 44,135 hectares,” the official said.

Over 18.04 lakh tonnes of vegetables were produced by bringing over 2.24 lakh hectares of area under vegetable cultivation, he added.

This year, 41,710 tonnes of spices were produced through cultivation over an area of 6,125 hectares. Medicinal plants and flowers were grown over an area of 750 hectares and 5,035 hectares respectively during the same period.

With farmers in some parts of the state, especially in areas near Karnal town, 135 km from here, shifting to fish farming by creating ponds in their agriculture fields, Haryana has recorded an annual growth rate of 12.5 percent in fish production.

This production is much higher that the present national growth rate of eight


The state’s fisheries department has set itself a target of increasing fish productivity to 5,500 kg per hectare in 2010-11, officials of the department said here.

“The fisheries department has implemented a Rs.50 lakh (Rs.5 million) scheme to impart training and financial assistance to members belonging to the Scheduled Castes to enable them to take up fish farming,” a fisheries department official said.

Financial assistance is being provided to the Scheduled Castes for taking ponds on lease, purchasing cycles and ice-boxes for retail sale of fish, hiring a private shop or taking one set up by the government in the fish market and for entering into fishing contracts.

Financial assistance is also being provided for digging new ponds on panchayat land and for making improvements in existing ponds.

Over 450 Scheduled Caste families have already availed themselves of the assistance in the present year (till November), the official said.

Till November, nearly 13,620 hectares of water area had been brought under fish culture as against the target of 17,000 hectares for 2010-11.

Fish production of 61,494 tonnes has been achieved during this period against the target of 93,940 tonnes for the whole year. Similarly, over 4,275 lakh fish seeds have been collected against the target of 4,250 lakh fish seeds, he added.

“Incentives for farmers taking to fish farming include reduced electricity rate of 25 paise per unit,” said farmer Ishwar Singh, who does fish farming now.

(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at jaideep.s@ians.in)

Filed under: Economy

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