Implementation of Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) in Meghalaya
Since Technology Mission for the Integrated Development of Horticulture/HMNEH/MIDH has been launched in the state w.e.f 2001-02, Horticulture in Meghalaya is on the path of a major transformation/paradigm shift and major positive changes are taking place in horticultural sector in the state:
i) Production of planting materials : Availability of planting material of good quality is one of the most important elements towards successful horticultural production. Planting material available to farmers in different areas is often of insufficient quality, which undermines potential yield and performance of crop production. The Department has taken serious note on this aspect and in this regard; quality planting materials of different horticulture crops are being raised / multiplied both in Private and Public Sector. Altogether, 26 Nos Nurseries has applied for accreditation with Central Institute of Horticulture (CIH), Nagaland.
ii) Area Expansion :
◾ The Technology Mission in Horticulture has effectively facilitated major area expansion, introduced new crops and technologies and provided visibility and focus for horticulture. New/non-traditional crops are relatively introduced into the state and are exemplified by crops like capsicum, broccoli, Strawberries, Cashew nuts, and flowers like Carnation, Anthurium, Liliums, Leather leaf ferns, Gerbera, Orchids etc. Significant area expansion and production of low volume/a high value horticulture crops including strawberry, flowers and coloured capsicum was carried out leading to an expansion of marketable crops which generates additional income and employment amongst farmers.
◾ Both indigenous and exotic vegetables are grown across a wide range of agro climatic zones. Cultivation of off-season cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli etc. has become a special feature in the state. A special effort has been made through the HMNEH Scheme to expand more areas under vegetable so as to meet the ever increasing demand of vegetables in NER.
iii) Protected Cultivation : The area under polyhouses and greenhouses, has been expanded on a large scale, allowing for an increase in protected cultivation. Green house technology, poly-house installed with drip and micro irrigation system, and fertigation facility are being popularized in farming communities in Meghalaya. As a result, the production of high value horticultural crops has been taken up in all districts of the State. The high value low volume crops like Broccoli, Cherry tomato, tomato, colored Capsicum, flowers and vegetables seed production have been taken up successfully in poly houses.
iv) Model Floriculture Centres (MFC ) has been set up in all the districts of the State. MFCs were then converted to Horticulture-hubs by convergence and pooling of resources from both State and Central funds. With spokes in clusters area having the potential of taking off horticulture in the State on a bigger scale. The Hubs function as the (a) demonstration centres, in particular for new crops, technologies and processes (b)production base for horticultural and floriculture crops.(c) provide training and exposure to areas of commercialization and management (d) provide support for collection, aggregation, grading, packaging & marketing.
The selection of crops for the Hubs have been based on present market demands for the products, existing strengths of each Hub as well as considerations of logistics, agro climatic suitability and scales of economies for the cluster units. For instances, the Rongram, Phodkylla & Samgong Hubs with existing personnel and infrastructure to cater to the crop, needs to take up expansion of Anthurium, a proven crop; Nongstoin & Mairang hub to take up Carnations, again a proven crop with good demand; Thadlaskein hub to take up cultivation of Gerbera, an easy to grow crop fetching good incomes; Mineng, Zikzag, Sarangma,Mynkre ,Dewlieh Hubs to take up expansion of orchids, again a crop with high demand, as the agro climatic conditions are suitable. Leather Leaf Fern, a product that is in short supply in the Indian markets will add to the product portfolio of some of these Hubs on the basis of area suitability.
v) Water Harvesting : The availability of water in horticulture is also critical during the period of dry spell which affects the productivity and physiology of the crop. In this regard to ameliorate the problem,Water Harvesting units have been constructed at strategic locations of the farmers fields to cater to the need of Water Supply to the crops during the dry periods.
vi) Organic Farming: Since the state is Organic by Tradition, its continuity of Organic farming is of utmost importance, since this would help the farmers gain better price of their produce and cater simultaneously the product which are safe enough for consumption. There are specific crops such Turmeric, Ginger, Oranges, Temperate fruits , Black pepper, and other vegetables which have been grown organically. Under this strategy, the use of eco-friendly bio agents and manures in conjunction with the application of Bio-fertilizers have shown tremendous effects of qualitative production of Horticultural crops.
vii) Post Harvest Management & Creation of Market Infrastructures: With the voluminous production of various horticultural crops through the intervention of horticultural schemes, there is a need of a pragmatic approach towards post harvest management of such crops. In this aspect, collection centres / farm holding units are being established at strategic locations of the cluster. Concerning creation of Marketing Infrastructure, eleven Rural Primary Markets and two Wholesale markets have been set-up and upgraded. Also, the “Horticulture-Hub” being established in all districts provides support for collection, aggregation, grading, packaging & marketing.
viii) Human Resource Development: In order to transform the farming scenario of the state into a higher productive sector, the need of up- gradation of the skills and technologies of the farmers is required. In this aspect, farmers and the field extension workers are being trained in the subject of new applicable technologies in horticulture. Farmers are also taken for exchange programme with farming community of other states in India.