Himachal Pradesh: Progressing towards technology enabled agro produce and procurement

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Lunch in Kinnnour of Buckwheat and Pearlmillet Chapati and rice
Virender Singh

Virender Singh, Senior Marketing Officer, Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh is also well known as the ‘Horticulture State of India’. Himachal Pradesh State Agricultural Marketing Board and department of agriculture regulate marketing of agricultural produce of the state, writes Virender Singh, Senior Marketing Officer, Himachal Pradesh State Marketing Board.

The total geographical area of Himachal Pradesh State is 55,673 Sq Km and shares its boundary with China and four Indian states viz. Jammu & Kashmir on the north, Punjab towards South West, Haryana on Southern side, Uttarakhand on the South East. The state has 12 districts, 78 blocks, 20,690 villages and 3243 Gram Panchayats.

The net sown area in the state is 5.43 lakh hectares with cropping intensity at 173 percent. There are 9.61 lakh land holding of which around 88 percent are small and Marginal farmer (upto two Hectare). About 80 percent of the total cultivated area in the state is rain-fed. Rice, wheat and maize are important cereal crops and Urad, Bean, Rajma and Gram are the important pulse crops of the state. Apart from food grains, the state grows a variety of horticulture crops such as Apple, Stone fruits (Plum, Peach, Apricot, Nectraine), Citrus etc. Apart from this, variety of offseason and exotic vegetables are also grown in the state. Himachal Pradesh is also well known as the ‘Horticulture State of India’.

Five perennial big rivers Satluj, Beas, Ravi, Chenab and Yamuna flow through its territory. The utility of these rivers though restricted considerably because of undulating terrain of the state, nevertheless, these rivers possess immense potential for the generation of hydro-electricity.

Apple is the most important fruit crop of Himachal Pradesh, which constitutes about 49 percent of the total area under fruit crops and about 79 percent of the total fruit production. During 1950-51, the area under apple cultivation was 400 hectares, it increased to 3,025 hectares in 1960-61 and it further increased to 1,12,634 hectares in 2017-18. Similarly, apple production was 7,77,126 MT during 2015-16, 4,68,134 in 2016-17, 4,46,574 in 2017-18  and around 3,59,540 MT in 2018-19.

The total area under Horticulture in Himachal Pradesh is 2,30,852 Hectare and total Fruit Production is 5,65,307 MT. Till March 2019, 1,15,96,672 boxes had arrived and 35000-40000 trucks are engaged in this work.

Marketing Schemes of Himachal Pradesh Agro Produce

Under Section Section-3 of The Himachal Pradesh Agricultural and Horticultural Produce Marketing (Development And Regulation) Act, 2005 Board, which is a corporate body, has been established for development, promotion and regulation of agricultural marketing.

Objectives of the Himachal Pradesh State Agricultural Marketing Board

The objective of the board is to improve and provide better facilities for sale, purchase, storage and processing of Agricultural and Horticulture Produce of Himachal Pradesh.

Himachal Pradesh State Agricultural Marketing Board and department of agriculture regulate marketing of agricultural produce of the state. It plays an important role in development of efficient marketing system, promotion of agri processing, establishment and proper administration of markets for agricultural produce in the State of Himachal Pradesh. It ensures level playing field for competitive markets to operate through setting of minimum standards for facilities, procedures and systems, thereby promoting the establishment of well administered and efficient infrastructure for marketing of agricultural produce in the state. The Director of Agriculture Department of Himachal Pradesh has been designated as Director of Agricultural Marketing. The state has total 59 market yards including 10 Principal Market Yards and 49 Sub Market Yard.

Structure of the Market Yards

In Market yards we have constructed 1,101 shops out of which 927 have been allotted and the allotment of 174 in pipeline.

Apart from this, the following facilities like banks, Auction platform, Rest houses/lobbies etc. in the yards. The average density of Market yards is 943 Square metre in Himachal Pradesh.

HPSAMB has also constructed 32 collection centres at strategic location throughout state for collection of Fruits and vegetables.

Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Development Project (HPHDP)

An amount of Rs 30 crore has been allocated for construction of two new markets at Mehandali (Shimla) and Bandrol (Kullu).  Rs 61 crore will be utilised for the renovation of 14 Agricultural Wholesale Markets and further Rs 36 crore for automation and other basic amenities. The estimated cost of this project is Rs 126.35 crore.

Establishment of CA/Cold Stores In Himachal Pradesh

The CA/Cold Stores have been established in the corporate and private sector for storage of fruit crops to avoid any distress sale / glut in the market. The total storage Capacity under CA/Cold Store in both private and government sector is 67,051 M.T. There are 12 CAS of 47,171 MT and Cold Store of 5,000 MT in private sector. The HPMC storage capacity of CAS is 3380 and cold storage is 11,500 respectively.  More than 70 percent CAS/CA store are owned by the private entrepreneurs.

Reliance, Adani, Agrifresh and other private industrial houses and further HPMC has established CAS in state. HPMC has installed around five grading unit of 4-5 MT/hr capacity in state.

Processing Of Fruits and Vegetables by the Horticulture Department

The department of Horticulture has opened Fruit Canning Units at Naubahar (Shimla),NagrotaBagwan (Kangra), Dhaulakuan (Sirmour), Shamshi (Kullu),  Nihal (Bilaspur), Rajgarh (Sirmour), Rajpura (Chamba) and Reckong Peo (Kinnaur) and further sale counters at 33 locations in the state.

With the World Bank financial assistance, H.P. Horticulture Produce Marketing & Processing Corporation (HP State Government Undertaking), popularly known as HPMC, was incorporated on June 10, 1974. The mandate of this organisation is to provide post-harvest facilities to the fruit growers of the state for higher returns for their produce from the market.

The infrastructure has been upgraded in a phased manner by commissioning advanced computerised apple packing /grading lines with controlled atmosphere storage (CAS) facilities in the fruit growing areas of the state. This has helped farmers in order to avail technology to meet the market requirements. HPMC combats the problems like marketing of fruits and processing of all types of surplus fruits.

Fruit Processing Facilities

HPMC has two modern fruit processing plants, beside a leased processing unit at Jabli, to maintain high standards in the field of fruit processing.

Post harvest Facilities

Computerised apple grading/ packing lines have been installed at Gumma (Kotkhai), Jarol (Tikkar) and Oddi (Kumarsin) with financial assistance from APEDA. These state of the art post-harvest facilities have washing, color grading, waxing and drying facilities to deliver international grade apples from Himachal Pradesh.

Modern Controlled Atmosphere Stores have been set up at Gumma, Jarol (Tikkar), Oddi, Rohru and Patlikhul with storage capacity of 640 MTs to control the supplies of apples and eliminate wastage. Cold storage facilities with total storage capacity of about 11,500 MTs have been created in terminal markets like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Parwanoo for maintaining the supplies.

Two modern fruit and vegetables pack houses with cold room facility has also been commissioned at Ghumarwin, Bilaspur district and Nadaun, Hamirpur district with the financial assistance of APEDA, with an aim to provide modern facilities for grading/packing of fruit and vegetables grown in low lying areas of Himachal Pradesh.

 In the absence of proper roads, farmers are compelled to sell their produce to local traders. In order to improve the situation, the proposal of roads is submitted to the state government is being sensitive to the farmers problem execute the proposals on priority basis. The cost of roads and tunnels is also much higher in hilly terrain. Ropeways are also used to transport apple and other fruits from mountains/hill peaks to roads.

New Horizons of Technological Innovations

Weigh in Motion (WIM) have been installed at the entry gate of market yards in order to keep check on the arrival of commodities. The WIM have been installed in the following Mandis.

WIM have been installed in the following e-NAM markets:

Sr.No. Market Yard Status of WIM
1. Dhalli  Installed in all the three yards
2. Bhattakufar
3. Parala
4. Solan Due to NH construction and other constraints WIM installation has been delayed.
5. Parwanoo Installed
6. Ponta Sahib Installed
7. Santoshgarh Installed
8. KangraJassour Installed
9. Bhunter Installed
10. Hamirpur Installed

Integrated Axle Slow Speed Weigh Axle weights in Motion (WIM-SS) either statically or dynamically up to a speed of 15 KMPH. The Integrated Axle Medium SPEED Weigh Axle weights in Motion (WIM-MS) have been proposed for the next phase which weighs Axle weighs in Motion either statically or dynamically up to a speed of 45 KMPH. Capacity of WIM 40 Ton/axle and in motion accuracy is +/- one percent FSR up to speed 5 Km/Hr and, +/- two percent FSR up to speed 10 Km/Hr and +/- three percent FSR up to speed 15 Km/Hr.

Fortification of Food an old era tradition

There are fewer facilities in the tribal areas. The millets are a good source of dietary carbohydrates, protein, calcium thiamin and magnesium and micronutrients.  The incorporation of millets in the diet can help to eradicate nutritional deficiencies. The use of millet flour is used for iron and zinc fortification tribal areas.

The healthy and better diet in form of the chapatis of Buckwheat and finger millets are eaten by the tribal population which are rich in aforesaid micronutrients. Sometimes the flour of buckwheat and finger millets is mixed with flour of wheat etc. in order to combat the micronutrients deficiency.

Role of technology in achieving progress of the Agriculture sector of Himachal Pradesh  

Introduction of HVY of seeds, INM (Integrated Nutrient Management), IPM (Integrated Pest Management), Bio-agents, mechanisation and use of remote sensing and Biotechnology has contributed to increase in production.

Release of bioagents like egg parasitoidTrichoderma chilonus, Trichoderma, japonicum, Trichoderma brasiccae etc., have contributed in combating pest problem. Biofertilizer Rhizobium, PSB, Azotobactor have also contributed meet the nutrient requirement.

In organic agriculture, traps and lures and plant based insecticide, fungicide and repallant, cow urine, dung and other forumulation have played an important role in increase of production.

HPMC was established with the objective of marketing of fresh fruits and processing of all types of surplus fruits. It has developed the most modern system of marketing in the country.

E-National Agricultural Market (eNAM) was launched in 2016 by the Prime Minister of India with a vision to bring transparency, uniformity, to realise full sale price to the growers/ farmers and to provide whole country such as Big Bazaar, for trading agricultural commodities. Himachal Pradesh also made its representation with 19 mandies on eNAM portal. The two mandies namely APMC Dhalli and Solan were chosen as pilot mandies. Subsequently five more mandies and thereafter 12 mandies were integrated in phased manner with E-National Portal in 2016 & 2017 respectively.

The Government of India, Ministry of Agriculture provided an amount of Rs 5.70 crore i.e. Rs 30 lakh for each Mandi to create basic infrastructure like as Computer and IT hardware,  Assaying labs, Setting up of weigh bridges,  awareness campaign and manpower under e-NAM. The Agriculture Marketing Board facilitated the APMCs and created required infrastructure in all the 19 eNAM Mandis.

At present, computers and IT hardware with Internet leased lines have been provided in each eNAM mandi, Assaying labs and weighing in motion have been established, awareness camps have also been organised, therefore, as a result up till now 1,18,345 farmers, 1,919 traders and 1,100 commission agents have been registered under eNAM in Himachal Pradesh.

An approximate amount Rs 39.47 crore has been transferred directly to the bank accounts of 2925 farmers through e-NAM gateway which is the second highest in the country after Uttrakhand state.

Thus Himachal Pradesh emerged best on all the indicator parameters that have been fixed by the Government of India and hence to promote and bring healthy competition amongst the states, the Solan Mandi of APMC Solan of the state was adjudged number one amongst the hilly States for its best infrastructure and physical trade on eNAM Portal and honored with Prime Minister Award in 2017.

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