Uttarakhand State was carved out of the state of Uttar Pradesh on November 9, 2000 and is divided into two broad regions–Garhwal and Kumaon. It comprises of 13 districts with total geographical area of 5.35 million ha, of which 4.6 million ha (86%) is hilly area and 0.74 million ha(14%) is plain area. Human population of the State is 100.08 lakhs with density of 189 persons per square kilometer and about seventy per cent population is rural. Net area sown is about 14 per cent of the total geographical area. The area under forests is 61 per cent. Culturable waste lands and fallow lands account for about 7 per cent. Pastures and grazing lands are 4.0 per cent of the reported geographic area. The average farm size is 0.80 hectares.

About 53% of the cultivated area is rainfed and irrigated area is about 47 per cent of the net area sown, of which about 86 % is in plains and 14 % is in hills. Cropping intensity is about 158 percent. Maize, rice and pulses are dominant Kharif crops while wheat and barley are important Rabi crops. Important cash crops are potato, ginger and off-season vegetables.

Horticulture is very important component of Uttarakhand’s economy. Tropical fruits which are grown in the state are litchi, mango, guava aonla and citrus, temperate fruits are apple, pear, peach, plum, apricot and walnut. Animal husbandry is an important and vital sector and about 90 percent of households keep livestock in the state.

Horticulture plays a vital role in the economic development of the state. This sector is the biggest source of income in the state’s economy. The creditability of horticultural crops including; fruits, vegetables, floriculture, spices, mushroom and  medicinal & aromatic plants; has been well established in improving productivity of land, generating employment, improving economic conditions of the farmers and entrepreneurs, enhancing exports and above all providing nutritional security to the people.

The climatic conditions of the hills are most suitable for the growth and development of not only the various types of quality apples but also a variety of other fruits including pears, peach, plums, apricots, cherry, strawberry, and various varieties of wild herbs.        

Objective

The objective of the Department of Horticulture and Food Processing, Government of Uttarakhand is to ensure sustainable and holistic development of the horticulture sector by adopting an area-based cluster approach towards developing regionally differentiated crops.

The Department is also focusing on the adoption of improved and appropriate technologies for ensuring quality, including genetic upgradation of all horticulture crops with the adoption of following activities:

They are agro climatically most suitable for the region/area for enhancing the production and productivity of various horticulture crops.

  • Production of Planting Material One of the most important reasons for the low productivity is unavailability of superior quality planting material. To make mission efforts successful, main objective of the programme is to produce true to type, disease free, healthy planting material suitable for subtropical and temperate climatic conditions.
  • Establishment of New Gardens (Area Expansion) The most important consideration has been emphasized on the land utilization. The focus crops with current markets have been targeted.The area expansion of new plantation of different fruit crops , Vegetables , Spices and Flowers was done in different locations.
  • Rejuvenation In Uttarakhand most of the orchards of apple, litchi, and mango, citrus are senile and unproductive and hence main reason for low productivity and quality. Old orchards will be rejuvenated to increase productivity and hence rejuvenation of Apple, Litchi, Citrus, Mango and Peach
  • Creation of Water resources Poor irrigation facilities are one of the major factors for low productivity of fruit and vegetable crops in Uttarakhand. As only 10% area is under irrigation in all hilly districts, the creation of water resources and storage pg slot have been identified as one of the major interventions. Community tanks are one of the methods to store water and utilize it. This will be helpful to link with drip and sprinklers system of irrigation. The entire hilly region is rainfed and there is urgent need to go for water harvesting tanks also. Similarly, Tarai and Bhabar areas require tube wells/ bore wells to irrigate flowers, fruits and vegetables for increasing the productivity.
  • Protected Cultivation Protected cultivation is being attached great importance in the state. On account of existing state of development of this component in the state, establishment of new poly houses(Green house) with providing quality planting material idn toto and plastic mulching, shade net house to protect the plants from the scorching, sun light, high winds, direct rain fall as well as minimize the insect pest and diseases. Shade net is mainly used for raising nursery, indoor plants, hardening to tissue culture plantlets, etc. Anti bird/hail nets used for damaged fruits ultimately affect their quality and use. Areas that are more prone to hailstones can be protected with the help of Anti hail nets.
  • Pollination Support through Bee Keeping About 85% of crops are cross-pollinated as they need to receive pollen from other plants of the same species with the help of external agents. One of the most important external agents is honey bee. The abundance of pollinators helps in early setting dominoqq of seeds resulting into higher production of various crops. The production of honey will be an additional source of income to the farmers. To increase productivity in fruits and additional benefit of honey the colonies will be developed through Horticulture Department for distribution and migration to Private/Government orchards.
  • Horticulture Mechanization Most of the horticulture operations are labour intensive and are performed mainly with the help of small primitive hand tools. It is proposed to provide modern tools and techniques to the farmers in order to increase the efficiency and over all horticulture development of the state. Apart from training of farmers, power operated machines/tools including Power Saw and Plant Protection equipments etc. will be provided to farmers.
  •  Human Resource Development (HRD) Training is an integral part and the best way for transfer of technologies for Horticulture Development. It is most important tool for mobilizing people, their skills & knowledge upgradation and for proper execution of the various programmes like nursery management, production, protection, rejuvenation, protected cultivation, harvesting, post harvest management and processing of horticulture products. It is proposed to conduct farmers training, trainers training and supervisory trainings. The establishment of gardeners training centers for providing training to the gardeners is also proposed.
  • Post-Harvest Management (PHM), Marketing and Processing Infrastructure The focus is being sift from expansion of area to PHM, marketing and processing of the produce in which establishment of pre-cooling units, ‘on-farm’ pack houses, ripening chambers, storage system including Cold and CA storages need to be undertaken.

Demand of horticulture produce such as fruits, vegetables, spices, flowers, mushroom and honey are ever increasing both in the domestic as well as in the International Market. The existing system of Whole Sale Market / National Agriculture Market is a setup were a commission agent procure the produce from the farmers at a price after deducting his commission and then sell the produce in the whole sale kontraktor sipil markets to trader and retailers. This type of marketing system has problem for unorganized small farmers who lack bargaining power, no incentive for the quality and have low share in final consumer price. Therefore, helping farmers and consumers, horticulture markets have been established in the State and also focused to develop networking of market and processing infrastructure.

The Department is working for holistic development of horticulture sector duly ensuring forward and backward linkages by adopting cluster approach, covering production, post- harvest management, processing and marketing with the active participation of all the stake-holders.

The Department is implementing various centrally sponsored schemes viz. Horticulture Mission for North East and Himalayan States (HMNEH), Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), Per Drop More Crop component of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY), Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), Pradhan Mantri Formalisation of Micro Food Processing Enterprises Scheme (PM FME),  and State / District sector schemes ensuring convergence with various other schemes like MNREGA, Watershed Management in the State for effective implementation of programmes with better result and providing sustainable models through horticulture activities.