Nellore farmers advised switching to horticulture for financial advantages.
Subsidies of 40% for horticulture crops and $75,000 for farm ponds are among the incentives for horticulture crop growing.
The department has also set goals for authorities in the Nellore district to enhance the horticulture crop area.
Nellore: Farmers in the Nellore district are being rewarded handsomely for switching to horticulture crops such as sweet lime, acid lime, mango, papaya, and guava, among others. The district's Horticulture Department, in particular, is attracting farmers in upland areas where there are no irrigation facilities.
Though horticulture requires a higher initial investment and a longer time to generate cash than crops such as paddy, it is a preferable alternative, according to the department's assistant director Pradeep. He emphasised that horticultural crops are a one-time investment that will provide long-term revenue for 20 to 30 years.
Furthermore, the state government is providing numerous incentives for the cultivation of horticulture crops. These include a 40% subsidy for horticultural crops and a Rs 75,000 subsidy for farm ponds that can be utilised to collect rainwater and store groundwater piped into the pond.
Similarly, Rs 2 lakh is being allocated for the construction of a packed house for grading, sorting, and packing fruit crops, Rs 16,000 per hectare for the application of plastic mulching material to keep moisture in plant roots, and subsidies for drip irrigation and sprinklers. Farmers that have employment cards can also use the NREGS component for pitting, planting, and maintenance.
In addition, the department has set goals for authorities to improve the district's horticultural crop area. The assistant director (AD) of Nellore, for example, must enhance the horticulture cultivation area by 500 hectares. According to AD Pradeep, horticulture crops are planted on 53,508 hectares in the district, with a total production of 9,90,969 metric tonnes, including vegetables, acid lime, mango, sweet orange, papaya, vegetables, and flowers.
Vegetables grown on 8,247 hectares in the Prakasam district are shipped to Chennai, Guntur, and Martur. Similarly, flowers such as lily, jasmine, and marigold are grown on 1,010 hectares, with a total yield of 5,150 tonnes shipped to Chennai and local markets.