Can anybody imagine commercial farming on a piece of land equivalent to or even less than an average housing plot?
The National Horticulture Board (NHB) received proposals from individuals wanting to start commercial cultivation of crops on 625 metres of land - barely sufficient to build a house, NHB managing director Dr JN Chamber told participants of a day-long seminar on 'Fruit Processing Industry in Uttar Pradesh: The Way Forward' organised by the CII UP State Council in Lucknow on Wednesday.
He said the NHB had even received proposals for carrying out cultivation on land measuring 110 metres. "We feel that the farmers who start cultivation on very small land holdings and earn profits should be encouraged to shift towards cultivating crops on larger stretches of land in due course," Chamber said.
Commenting on the current scenario in development of commercial horticulture farms, Chamber said almost 80 per cent of the projects were currently coming up on wastelands, which were being made profitable for farming ventures by NHB.
The board had received 10,680 project proposals involving total subsidy of Rs 2136 crore during the current fiscal. However, commercial banks had unfortunately done little in financing farmers. Out of 1, 20 lakh farming projects, only about 18,000 were financed by banks during the current fiscal, he said.
"I will sincerely advise commercial banks to adopt a friendly approach towards farmers," Chamber added.
To a question from an entrepreneur whether 'Totapuri' mangoes could be grown by NHB in Uttar Pradesh, Chamber replied, "We can certainly do that after a technical analysis is carried out to determine the viability of such projects."
Principal Secretary (Food Processing, UP Govt) Ravindra Singh, in his address, said the entrepreneurs planning to establish food processing units in UP must undertake a thorough study of the products and feasibility of setting up projects in the State.