We congratulate the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) on its innovative project called “Year-Round Fruit Production for Nutrition Improvement” which aims to make fruits available all year round so that the nutritional demands of the population are met. This is certainly a breakthrough in agriculture since till now only the summer months gave us a good variety of local fruits while the rest of the year, only those who could afford imported fruits would be able to get the benefits.
According to a report in this daily, this project has already started to show remarkable success with fruit yields increasing significantly, enough to meet local and foreign demand. As many as one lakh farmers are being given training on fruit cultivation through horticulture centres. The initiative, which the DAE has been implementing since 2014-2015, has inspired farmers to plant two crore fruit trees on their own.
This is happy news for farmers and fruit lovers alike. Apart from getting local fruits such as guava, papaya, and pineapple all year round, exotic foreign fruits such as dragon fruit, avocado, Thai guava, and many more are being grown locally. What’s more, high-yielding varieties have been developed over the years so there is an abundance of fruits in the market.
We hope that this project, and especially the farmers who grow these fruits, will be supported so that it is financially viable to sell the produce. Here, we urge the government to follow the High Court’s directive and make sure that toxic chemicals are not used during the cultivation process or afterwards when the fruits are sold. The nutritional benefits will be lost if fruits are laden with toxic chemicals which come from fertilisers, pesticides and ripening agents. Since these fruits will be grown all throughout the year, including foreign varieties, there is no reason why they should be sold at exorbitant prices in the markets as is often the case. The authorities must monitor the markets so that unscrupulous traders do not unnaturally hike up the prices.