BHUBANESWAR: Having witnessed a quantum rise in the production of horticulture crops in the last 10 years, the State Government has now decided to lay emphasis on floriculture, coconut and banana crops.
Three new schemes - floriculture development, coconut development, banana development - besides inter-cropping have been introduced under the State plan for the current financial year.
With demand for flowers growing faster than before, the department has chalked out a detailed strategy to encourage floriculture. The major consumption points for flowers are Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Berhampur, Rourkela and Sambalpur.
This year, a budgetary provision of Rs 100 lakh has been made for development of floriculture. Stress will be laid on cultivation of roses, marigold, tuberose and jasmine. As major flower markets are concentrated in and around cities and places of religious importance, it has been proposed to take up the floriculture scheme near Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Puri, Berhampur and Ghatagaon (Keonjhar).
Besides, it has been decided that training programme for the farmers will be made more extensive and quality saplings will be provided.
The State Government had earlier decided to increase the subsidy to 50 per cent from 33 per cent. Florists of Odisha mostly rely on West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka for flowers.
Floriculture apart, the department has increased the area coverage under coconut cultivation this year to make Odisha one of the top three states in terms of coconut productivity and area under cultivation. At present, the State stands 5th in area under coconut cultivation and 6th in productivity.
Joint Director of Horticulture Ramesh Das said the total area under coconut cultivation now is over 53,000 hectares (ha).
In the wake of the growing demand of coconut products, the department has decided to make a budgetary allocation of `834.98 lakh for coconut cultivation this fiscal. Das said it had been proposed to take up plantation in coastal districts like Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Puri and Ganjam.
Likewise, it has been decided to take up tissue culture banana plantation in 555 ha at the cost of Rs 250 lakh this year. “Tissue culture banana plantation will be taken up in compact patches in farmers’ fields and 50 per cent subsidy will be provided to them for one year,” Das said.
He said the government’s final nod to these schemes is expected soon.