(GIST OF YOJANA) Peri-urban Horticulture Revolution [MARCH-2018]
(GIST OF YOJANA) Peri-urban Horticulture Revolution
Peri-urban Horticulture Revolution
Urbanisation in India is growing and the problem of food inflation largely rises from the demand-supply gaps in urban areas. One way of stabilising the prices of vegetables and fruits in urban areas is to promote peri-urban horticulture by providing the necessary technical and marketing support. Decentralised production, as for example in Israel, could be C supported by cooperative marketing. Urban and peri-urban ‘horticulture revolution’ could pave the way for more stable prices to the consumer At the same time, we should ensure that the quality of the food remains high and free of pesticide residues and other unsafe chemicals. Thus, we can ensure stability of supply coupled with high quality and safe food, while contributing to price stability. . The urban population demands special foods particularly fruits and vegetables. Therefore, a peri-urban farming programme would be timely.
The Food Security Act 2013 also includes millets like ragi, jowar, bajra etc in the food basket under the PDS. It is now known that such millets are not only nutritious but are also climate smart in the sense that they are more resilient to rainfall distribution. In order to ensure that these nutritious and climate resilient crops are again cultivated on a large scale in dry farming areas we should ensure that they have a market. Fortunately, many food processing companies are coming up based on ragi, bajra, jowar and a range of minor millets. We need to ensure that both under the Food Security Act and school meal programme, there is sufficient off take of nutritious millets. Also, government should change the practice of referring to such crops as “coarse grains”. They should be referred to as “climate smart nutri-millets”.
An area concern is post-harvest management of the harvested crops. At present there is a mismatch between production and post-harvest technologies which leads to losses to both producers and consumers. It is in this connection that food processing industries are urgently needed. Fortunately, the 2018-49 budget provides substantial support to food safety and food processing. Value-added products will have to be prepared in order to promote greater investment in post-harvest technology. Cold storages and cold chains are needed. The recent potato crisis in West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar could have been avoided had there been cold storage available in Punjab, Haryana region. Both technology and public policy as well as farmer’s involvement in the conservation of perishable commodity will, I hope, bring an end to the mismatch.
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