The government plans to introduce exotic varieties of apples, almonds, walnuts, grapes and date palm in India by importing seeds and saplings to help local growers and reduce imports. “These fruits originate in other countries but we consume in large quantities here.
We have been growing these fruits but quality is a little inferior,” a horticulture department official said. “So, the government has decided to import original planting material to promote cultivation of exotic varieties.”
He said that states have been asked to furnish demand of planting materials that farmers want to grow. “State-owned National Seeds Corporation has been appointed as the nodal agency, which will import seeds, saplings and rootlets for further propagation in India.
We have received demand from Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir. Private companies have been importing at individual level but government will import planting material for the first time,” he said.
The programme, initially for three years, will be fully funded by central government under the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture.