Horticulture is a branch of agriculture. It deals with the art, science, technology, and business of growing plants. It includes the cultivation of medicinal plants, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs, sprouts, mushrooms, algae, flowers, seaweeds and non-food crops which includes grass and ornamental trees and plants.
Andhra Pradesh Horticulture: Present Scenario
Horticulture production in the state has been rising constantly for last two decades.
In the below graph we can see the constant rise in total area and total production in Andhra Pradesh. Red label indicate total production in lakh tones and green label indicates total area under production.
Area under Horticulture crops :
In the below pie chart we can see total area under various horticulture components. Fruits bear the brunt and have the largest area under production.
Production of Horticulture Crops:
Below pie chart shows ration of various horticulture crops in total production.
Horticulture in Andhra Pradesh: Development schemes and Future scope
Department of Horticulture:
The Department of Horticulture established in the year 1981 after being bifurcated from the State Department of Agriculture. Horticulture over the years has emerged as an indispensable part of Agriculture by offering wide range of crop diversification choice to farmers and providing opportunities for sustaining large number of agro- industries, which have created employment opportunities to semi-skilled and unskilled labor force. In view of the increased public investment in Horticulture sector, the Govt., of A.P. has been giving much needed emphasis to Horticulture development, primarily targeting at increasing the production and productivity of horticulture crops,development of infrastructure for Post Harvest Management and providing access to domestic, and export markets.Horticulture sector contributes approximately 5.16% of the State GSDP. Horticulture sector identified as one of the growth engines to contribute GSDP growth in state of Andhra Pradesh
Five Layer Model of Horticulture crops:
To boost horticulture production and to keep a check on spiralling prices of fruits and vegetables to make them accessible to all income groups in the state, the AP government is promoting a new concept of cultivation called ‘zero budget natural farming with five-layer model of horticulture crops’ in a big way.
This concept has been adopted from Indian agriculturist and Padma Sri awardeeSubashPalekar. Unlike the conventional practice of cultivation of one major crop in the entire stretch of the field owned by a farmer or cultivating a horticulture crop as an inter-crop along with a major crop, this concept allows cultivation of as many as five species of horticulture crops in a small land holding.
Accordingly, in an acre of agriculture land, 100 sq m will be taken as a base unit and five species of crops will be raised in a specific pattern and three trenches of 2.5 feet length will be dug in it. This will be repeated in 39 other base units as a 1-acre plot of land allows 40 base units to be developed.
As a first layer of crop, raised in the outer layer and in four corners of the base unit, a farmer can raise coconut, mango, sapota and other crops in a specified number to match the available space. In the second layer, he can raise citrus and other plants. The third layer can have 20 plants of banana, papaya and other fruit and the fourth layer can bear eight plants, including apple, among others.
The farmer could use the fifth layer to raise pulses and vegetables, and if possible, paddy too instead of pulses, based on the suitability of the soil.
The agriculture authorities will guide the farmer on the number of plants, their varieties and their location in the base unit and the same pattern of cropping needed to be replicated in the remaining base units in the entire land holding of the farmer.
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