Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh has said that the import of apples from China was a challenge and underlined the need to improve the productivity to compete in the global market.
“We can't stop import from any country but we have to improve our productivity along with quality to compete in the global market,” he said at a conference of the Himachal Pradesh Horticultural Services Association (HPHSA) here on Sunday.
Emphasising for technology transfer in horticulture, he said the YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, along with the horticulture department should import new varieties of fruits. “Though horticulturists in the state have pioneered delicious varieties of apples but the need of the hour is to replace old varieties with new high-yielding ones,” Singh said.
Laying stress on crop diversification, he said climate in middle and upper belts of the state was favourable for the production of off-season vegetables and farmers should take this benefit to
improve their economy.
“As the state has an enormous potential in floriculture, the department should provide the best technology to grow flowers to meet the demands in the national and global markets,” the chief minister said.
Lauding university's efforts in research and development (R&D) in horticulture, Singh said R&D was necessary to keep pace with developments globally. Elaborating on the environment-friendly development, he said the forest department should enforce ban on the felling of mango trees that was started during the previous rule of the Congress government.
“The horticulture department should educate farmers about every aspect of the field, while the forest department should keep vigil on mango tree felling that is on in the state,” the chief minister added.
Meanwhile, horticulture minister Vidya Stokes underlined the need of self-introspection in the horticulture department that should review that why its orchards were losing the qualitative production. “How can the department expect or ask growers to produce quality apples when orchards belonging to the department are losing productivity,” Stokes said.