Italian chocolate firm to grow hazelnuts in HP

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Shimla
  • Updated: Jul 30, 2014 11:52 IST

After having failed twice to grow hazelnuts commercially, this time government is planning to engage an Italian firm to grow hazelnuts here on pilot basis.

After rounds of meeting between Italian chocolate manufacturer, Ferrero, and the state horticulture department, the department has decided to allot some of its progny-cum-demonstration orchard (PCDO) at different locations.

However, the company had urged government to allow working independently with the growers of the state but the department turned down their request.

A horticulture department official said it was not first time, earlier in 1986 and 2005, the department tried to boost up the hazelnut cultivation commercially but it could not be a success.
“There may be several issues and we did not have the proper technical know-how, so we failed to educate the growers about it,” he added. He also said that the Italian firm would grow hazelnuts in PCDOs of the department and if it succeeded to grow it commercially then the firm could be allowed to work with the growers of the state.

Ferrero was keen to work with the growers but such tries had been failed in past, said horticulture minister Vidya Stokes.

“There are several growers who have planted hazelnuts but failed to get the crop. Until the company succeeds to grow it commercially on pilot basis, we can’t allow them to work with the people,” Stokes told HT.

“They will be given nearly 7 to 8 hectare of land for the experiment cultivation of hazelnuts,” added Stokes.

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