Ecohorts Blog

Visit to China Agriculture Exposition December, 2011

Posted in Study Tours by Administrator on the December 22nd, 2011

Zhengzhou (China)
Lakshman Thakur
(Chairman, Ecohorts)

The Modern Agriculture Exposition (18-20 November, 2011) was organized by Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, Taiwan affairs office and the state Forestry Administration at Zhangzou, whicih is famous area in South East China for processed food technology. It is also well known for animal husbandry, fishery products, mushroom production and its processing, canning and crisp mushroom chips. 1206 organizations from 26 countries participated in the event.

A group of twelve participants from Himachal Pradesh also participated. Himalayan Eco-horticulture Society (Ecohorts), setup a stall at the exposition to exchange ideas. The visiting delegation included, Dr.J.M.Singh (former V.C. of UHF Nauni), Dr. K. D. Verma (former professor and head, plant pathology) and three working scientists of fruit science department from University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, H.P. (Dr.D.P.Sharma, Dr.D.D.Sharma and Dr.N.K.Sharma) along with seven members of Himalayan Eco-horticulture Society (ecohorts), including Mr.Lakshman Thakur (Chairman), Mr.Inder Vikram Sarjolta (secretary), Mr.Lokeshwar Rapta, Mr.Nigam Singh, Mr.Jagpal Jistu, Mr.Virender Tajta and Mr.Ram lal Chauhan.

The focus areas for Ecohorts were:

• To explore low cost technologies to help mechanisation of horticulture in orchard management viz. grass cutters, tillers, spray equipment, fruit sorting or grading equipment etc. A large variety of such equipment was on display at the exposition.

• Increase farmer-to-farmer contact between Indian and Chinese horticulturists. The Chairman of Ecohorts presented a proposal to the Chief Guest of the exposition to this effect (Chinese Premier of the region).

The visiting delegation observed the following:

• Infrastructure in China is the key enabler of high yielding farm sector in China. In Himachal Pradesh (India), lack of infrastructure for post-harvest management and handling, such as Controlled atmospheric (CA) storage, cold chain and packaging material creates a big waste.

• There is a big gap in post-harvest handling, including the processing of process-grade fruits. This amounts to 25% of total production being totally lost.

• Land utilization was based on micro-planning. Flat area for cereal cultivation, gentle slopes for fruit production like Guava or Litchi and higher slopes areas under conifer forest.

• Soil conservation, water harvesting and its management all were aggressively pursued by the state and farming communities and supported by the state.

• Special Economic Zones (SEZ) had hybrid cultivation of cereals, vegetables, fruits and flowers. This enabled production of high quality output, consistently.

From the state of the art farming infrastructure to progressive /collaborative farming – there is lot to learn from our neighbours. These are key enablers of Chinese farm productivity. On one hand the state needs to create the infrastructure and on the other hand farmers need to reach out and adopt best practices, especially to mechanisation.

The short trip to China was only a beginning of a long journey in exploring the best practices and benefitting from them. On the way back from China, the Ecohorts team lead by Mr. Lakshman Thakur, met with the National Horticulture board (NHB) officials in New Delhi to propose a similar exposition at Mashobra (near Shimla) to share machinery, tools and techniques, specifically targeted at Horticulture in hilly regions. The idea is to bring the technologies to the door step of thousands of farmers in the state. NHB has accepted the proposal and an exposition will be held in 2012.

We are looking forward to a long overdue revolution in increasing orchard productivity in the state. It needs commitments from the state and collaborative effort from our progressive farming community.

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