By Shah Khalid
To facilitate the nurture growth in Horticulture sector, the state administration had taken various initiatives for young entrepreneurs, so that they can pursue innovation and technology to start a conducive start-up ecosystem in the state for promotion of entrepreneurship in horticulture sector, which in turn will help them to increase the economic growth besides generating employment opportunities to other young brains.
In view of possibility and potential of increase in entrepreneurship development in the Horticulture sector and its allied processing sectors in the state, the unemployed youths are to be given training for setting-up the horticulture industry under various flagship program at the district level, so they have a source of income besides generating additional employment, for unemployed youths.
Meanwhile, entrepreneurs must know about Agro-climatic suitability of the project in case of crops, Market viability, financial viability, a scientific package of practices, and evaluate the project himself. So before taken any step, a model Template crop specific project report must be prepared. It has been observed that most of the project reports are compiled by consulting agencies, which in the future appears a futile exercise, as the applicant has no knowledge about the contents of the project.
This fact strongly explains why a good number of projects are being rejected at the State Level Committee (SLC), Internal Committee (IC) and Project Approval Committee (PAC) level. Besides that, it has also been observed that there is a number of cases where projects have failed solely for the reason of poor knowledge of crop husbandry by the applicant/entrepreneur. Sometimes the projects are rejected for the reason of very poor appraisal of projects by the Banks. In all these instances the victim is applicant/ entrepreneur.
National Horticulture Mission (NHM) is one of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme, with a mission to promote holistic growth of the horticulture arena, through some differentiated strategies, which include research methodology, Science and technology, extension, postharvest management system, processing, and marketing. In the basic contrast, the underlying approach is based on a technology driven cluster approach with an attractive focus on competitive horticulture crops, to enhance production and productivity as well to increase the coverage of crops.
To meet with such obligation for high yield of crops, the state and central government is giving nutritional security as support to farm households, to enhance the production of high value and low volume horticultural products for exports, besides strengthening the infrastructure development facilities for marketing and export.
The government has established convergence and synergy among multiple on-going and planned programs for horticulture development, through a seamless blend of traditional wisdom and modern scientific knowledge, which create opportunities for employment generation for skilled and unskilled persons, especially unemployed youths of the state.
Under this program the state government is assisting in setting up post-harvest facilities such as pack house, ripening chamber, cold storages, Controlled Atmosphere (CA) storages, etc. so that entrepreneurs can adopt a coordinated approach and promotion of partnership, convergence, synergy, processing, and marketing, to deal easily with state government as well as with private stakeholders.
National Horticulture Board is the main functionary, who is supporting for setting up of cold storage (of capacity above 5000 MT and up to 10000 MT) and their modernization assistance under the NHB scheme of Capital Investment subsidy for construction and expansion. It is an open-ended credit linked scheme with the scale of the assistance of 40% of capital cost amount for the project limited to Rs 30.00 lakhs for general category. There is a subsidy for other classes too.
After the launch of Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) since April 2014, it has become imperative for NHB to re-position itself and assume a new role to accelerate planned development of Commercial Horticulture sector. To achieve such schemes, NHB has been modified to generate synergy with other sub-schemes of MIDH and fulfill the aim of development of horticulture sector by removal of overlap.
It may be noticed that while a number of existing scheme components continued to be operational with necessary modifications, the government has approved the higher level of subsidy of 40 % for open field cultivation and 50 % for protected cultivation to maintain parity with the schemes of NHM under MIDH. The National Horticulture Board has administrated various programs as sub-scheme of Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), so to extend administrative, logistical and personnel support towards the implementation of various schemes like:-
- Development of Commercial Horticulture through Production and Post-Harvest Management of Horticulture Crops.
- Capital Investment Subsidy Scheme for construction/expansion/ modernization of Cold Storages/Storages of Horticulture Products.
- Technology Development and Transfer for promotion of Horticulture.
- Marketing Information Scheme for horticulture Crops.
- Horticulture Promotion Services / Expert Services.
However, a couple of horticulture allied schemes had been launched, whose main objectives is to encourage skill development for entrepreneurs by providing monetary rewards for successful completion of approved training programs. Specifically, as the schemes aim to encourage standardization in the certification process and initiate a process of creating a registry of skills and mobilize a large number of entrepreneurs to take up skill training and become employable and earn their livelihood.
The J&K states horticulture production has not only brought prosperity to small and marginal farmers but also provided food and nutritional security to the state, which now a day has emerged as one of the most important sectors for diversification in agriculture. The administration must contribute in a Multi-dimensional style, so that all such horticulture related schemes get implemented with the letter and spirit, to support the farmers and the entrepreneurs who are now facing challenges in globalized markets.
(Shah Khalid is a freelancer & can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)