Indian districts to specialize in particular crops in fresh govt bid to boost productivity

INDIA – Agricultural districts in India will begin specializing in specific crops in a fresh bid by the government to boost agricultural productivity.

The specialization project is being spearheaded by the country’s agriculture ministry which has so far finalised 135 district-specific unique products for 728 districts across the country.

Under the ministry’s One District One Product’ (ODOP), these districts have been designated a certain agricultural, horticultural, animal, poultry, milk, or marine product which they are best positioned to grow.

Following the government’s initiative, oranges will be for instance be grown in the District of Nagpur, while grapes will be cultivated in the district of Sangli.

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List for Delhi shows focus on bakery, ready-to-eat products and milk-based products whereas Mumbai’s list mentions marine products, Bengaluru has poultry and bakery products and Hyderabad has ready-to-eat snacks.

 The comprehensive list has assigned 60% of the total 728 districts to fruits (226 districts). Vegetables will be grown in 107 districts, and spices in 105.

In contrast, food grains such as paddy will be grown in 40, pulses in 16, and wheat in 5 – quite a small number of districts compared to the prior reality where their cultivation was widespread across India.

Explaining the misnomer, a senior state official said the list mostly carried horticultural produce which requires help for creating a robust supply chain and processing/storage infrastructure.

Specialization to boost productivity

Assigning crops to different districts will allow for greater resources to be concentrated in one region for maximum impact.

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According to a report by Economic Times India, these district-wise identified products will be supported under the PM Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (PM-FME) scheme which provides incentives to promoters and micro-enterprises.

 “These products will be promoted in a cluster approach through convergence of the central government schemes to increase the value of the products with the ultimate aim of increasing the income of the farmers,” says Shubha Thakur, joint secretary in agriculture ministry.

 Thakur further said that the central government had accordingly requested the state government to plan for implementation of the programme which “will benefit farmers and provide support for realizing the expectations of value addition and subsequently enhancing agri export”.

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