Piyush Goyal asks ICAR to explore possibilities to grow imported fruits

New Delhi: Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal, on Wednesday, asked Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) to coordinate with commerce ministry to examine data of imported agri produce and explore possibilities of growing these in the country towards becoming self sufficient.

“We import flowers worth Rs 230 crore while the import value of fruits is around Rs 5,000 crore. ICAR can get the data from commerce ministry and evaluate the kind of soil used, amount of fertiliser and water required and surrounding markets where these can be sold,” Goyal said while addressing 92nd annual general meeting of ICAR.

He said that there is lot of scope in the cultivation of flowers and horticulture crops in the country.

“We must keep a tab on tastes of people. For example, Avocado is not produced in India. Once while a negotiation, America was insisting on export of Avocado to India. I think there is big market for this fruit in the country with large base of health conscious middle class,” he said.

Goyal said that innovations should be introduced to keep interest for farming alive in the younger generation.

“We can’t think progress of the country without farmers,” he said.

He said that farming camps should be organised for school and college students to draw them towards agriculture.

“ICAR should introduce new practices and experiments to attract young blood. It should think about collaborating farmers with start ups which can increase farmers’ income as well as allow start ups to sell farm produce across the globe. It can also think of conducting tasting tours – the way these are held in foreign countries for wine tasting,” he said adding that people here also go for strawberry tasting in Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra.

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