The diverse agro-climatic condition prevailing in Karnataka is suitable for growing a variety of horticultural crops such as fruits, vegetables, flowers, spices, plantation crops, root and tuber crops, and medicinal and aromatic crops.
The total area under plantation and horticulture crops was 20.51 lakh hectares with annual production of 138.65 lakh mt.
The thrust areas are: Hybrid seed production of vegetables and cut flowers especially under poly houses for export with tie up with Safal Fruit and Vegetable Auction Market (SFVAM), oil palm cultivation and contract farming of medicinal and aromatic crops, viz., Aloe Vera, Coleus forskoli, Ashwagandha and Patchouli.
Gherkins, rose onion, flowers and vanilla are notified under Agri-Export Zones, covering 15 districts. Along with National Horticulture Mission (NHM), the Government is also implementing a pilot project on adoption of Israeli Technology in 10 taluks.
The area under mulberry cultivation has come down from 97647 hectares (2006-07) to 77,329 hectares (2008-09), mainly on account of uprooting of mulberry plantations in Ramanagara, Mysore, Bangalore Rural and Tumkur districts and also crop diversification. Accordingly, the cocoon production has also come down to 53377 MT (2008-09) from 58697 MT (2006-07).
Issues concerning plantation and horticulture in the State are: – There is a need to strengthening of technical staff of the horticulture department particularly at the field level, lack of support system for market oriented production, short supply of quality planting material and improved varieties, especially under medicinal and aromatic plants, deficit infrastructure in AEZ and lack of coordinated approach, adoption of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices to reduce losses, increase productivity are the areas of concern.
The Coffee Board may promote organic farming to meet international standard of productivity. The Coconut Development Board may promote multi-storied cropping system.
Improved mulberry varieties and silk worm races have to be widely popularised in non-traditional areas. The weakest link in the sericulture sector is the reelers.
Promotion of shoot rearing method, bivoltine races, deficit in inadequate network and technology transfer in non-traditional areas and lack of effective tripartite arrangement for recovery of loan from farmers in post-cocoon activities, are the issues to be addressed by the agencies concerned. As the existing multi-voltine races are not ideally suited in high rainfall districts, races suitable to various agro climatic zones of the State to be evolved.
There is good potential for corporate/contract farming (soil to silk) to achieve international quality and ensure continues supply to the industries. The department and banks may promote such models.
Banks to scale up disbursement to sericulture sector as adequate potential exists.
The department and banks need to work out a realistic working capital cycle to meet requirements of the reelers. Upgradation of machinery and cost-effective technology to enhance productivity and quality of the post-cocoon activity.
Banks may finance for pre-cooling, grading and packing houses for fruits and vegetables, dry land horticulture, high density planting, multi-tier cropping systems small and medium capacity tissue culture units.
The crop insurance scheme/weather based insurance may be extended to all the horticultural crops.