The region offers a great scope for growing large variety of horticultural crops due to congenial agro-climate and soil available throughout. The importance of horticulture in the integrated concept ofthe watershed management also opened a much wider scope for increase in the area under cultivation, and production, of potato and ginger which became major cash crops covering 80,000 hectares. At the same time, there was an area of 71,000 hectares under cultivation of fruits with annual production of 6.3 lakh tons with pineapple, orange and banana covering a very large part ofthe area.
To promote expansion of the area under various fruits, the NEC had established 6 progeny orchard cum nurseries within the region to produce high quality planting material of major fruits like citrus, apple, pear, guava, peach etc.
For the potato programme, 5 regional foundation seed farms were set up during the Fifth Five Year Plan in the hilly parts of the region. In addition, 2 farms for multiplication of Ginger and root crops were set up.
The outlay on these nurseries and farms during the Fifth Five Year Plan amounted to Rs. 172 lakhs.
During the Sixth Plan, the NEC allocated Rs. 560 lakhs to establish regional vegetable seed farms in temperate and subtropical areas, farms for coconut seed nuts, nurseries for banana and walnut.
The constraints that were faced included inadequate marketing facilities and to avoid such conundrum, the NEC established a Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation. An outlay of Rs. 100 lakhs was initially provided by the NEC for this purpose. This corporation (the NERAMAC), one of the many institutions established by the NEC, is presently under the administrative control of the Ministry of DoNER.