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Horticulture Department

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History of Department of Horticulture and Plantation Crops

HorticulturetDepartment takes birth

Initially all Horticulture schemes were implemented by a separate Horticulture wing in the Agriculture Department. This wing was headed by a Joint Director of Horticulture (Commercial crops) at the Directorate of Agriculture in Madras.

Recognizing the vast scope for development of Horticulture in the state, a new Department of Horticulture and Plantation Crops was created on September 26, 1979 with headquarters at Dharmapuri and was headed by a senior officer of the department. The Directorate was shifted to Chennai, LLA Building on Anna Salai in 1992. The Government of Tamil Nadu converted the post of Director of Horticulture and Plantation Crops into a cadre post for the I.A.S and since 1992, I.A.S officers have been posted to head the department.

The Department finds a home

In 1979 when the department was formed, the area under horticulture crops was 6.60 lakh ha and production was 24.33 lakh MT. Today, the area under horticulture crops has increased to 10.96 lakh Ha and production is expected to touch 205.96 lakh MT (2009-10). The Government integrated all the area-specific and crop-specific schemes into the “Integrated Horticulture Development Scheme” in 1995. Thrust areas were identified and technical staff were positioned as a “Unit” comprising of one Horticulture Officer and one or two field functionaries, viz. Assistant Agriculture Officer / Field Demonstration Officer.

Horticulture department finds its feet

The Directorate of Horticulture was shifted to the newly constructed Agriculture Complex Building at Chepauk in 1997. As time passed by Horticulture the area under Horticulture crops increased and need was felt to implement the schemes in a mission mode. The state Government set up a mission for the development of Horticulture in the state in 2003. The mandate of the mission was to give impetus to production, processing, value addition and marketing of vegetables, fruits, flowers and medicinal plants. The mission sought to improve production through balanced nutrition management. It laid stress on evolving suitable mechanisms for regulating the production of quality planting material and giving impetus to need based research. The need for establishing adequate infrastructure for post harvest management especially preservation and marketing was outlined. Farmers were mobilised through associations and encouraged to adopt modern technological practices.

Horticulture takes wings

The Tamil Nadu Horticulture Development Mission consisted of three mini missions with different sub components.

  • Mini Mission – I : Technology generation and research - Tamil Nadu Agriculture University
  • Mini Mission – II : Crop Development and Transfer of Technology - Department of Horticulture and Plantation Crops
  • Mini Mission – III : Post Harvest Management and market linkages - Department of Agriculture Marketing and Agri Business.

 

Tamil Nadu, was thus a pioneer among the states in India to start a separate mission for promotion of Horticulture.

New Institutions are born

Tamil Nadu Horticulture Development Agency was formed on the 18th of June 2004 and was registered as a Society under Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act, 1975. It was conceived as a Special Purpose Vehicle for the purpose of implementing centrally sponsored schemes like National Horticulture Mission, Micro Irrigation, National Bamboo Mission, and others.

The institution has provided much needed operational and financial flexibility for implementing schemes. Fund flows have become faster, the pace of implementation has picked up and schemes have seen steady progress. TANHODA now is the nodal agency for national Horticulture Mission (NHM), National Mission on Micro irrigation (NMMI), Bamboo mission, National Mission on Medicinal plants (NMMP), State Horticulture farms, Gardens & Parks and other schemes.

The Governing council is headed by the Agriculture Production commissioner and the Commissioner of Horticulture is the Managing Director. The other members are the heads of departments in the Agriculture sector, representatives of finance department and Tamil Nadu Agriculture University.