Himachal to have two horticulture centres of excellence

Last Updated: Fri, Dec 14, 2012 11:30 hrs

Shimla, Dec 14 (IANS) The central government will set up two centres of excellence to promote horticulture in Himachal Pradesh, a state minister said Friday.

"One centre will be set up in the lower hills, while another in the upper hills to benefit the fruit growers," state Horticulture Minister Narender Bragta said in a statement here.

He said Rs.5 crore would be spent on each centre.

Bragta, who met central government's Horticulture Commissioner Gorakh Singh in New Delhi Friday, said the central government has also agreed to release Rs.20 crore to the hill state under the Horticulture Technology Mission.

In horticulture, apples are the mainstay of the state's economy, with more than 200,000 families engaged in its cultivation. The apple industry is worth over Rs.2,000 crore.

Horticulture officials say the state has an apple yield of only four to nine tonnes per hectare as compared to over 25 tonnes per hectare in apple growing countries.

The apple season in the state ended last month, with the total production being around 20 percent less than the normal production of 2.50 crore boxes of 20 kg each.

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