Andra Pradesh Horticultural University, Tadepalligudem

The Horticulture in the country, particularly in Andhra Pradesh, is rapidly transforming to an industry. Globalization of horticulture, food safety and environmental concerns envisage at not only increased production but also cost and quality competitiveness, long-duration storage, off-season production and processing qualities of the horticultural produce.

Andhra Pradesh has a strong base in Horticulture and is a leading producer of a variety of fruits, viz., mangoes, citrus fruits, grapes, bananas, cashew and pineapple; vegetables viz., tomatoes, onions, chillies etc. It ranks first in the production of mango, chillies, turmeric, sweet orange and papaya. It is estimated that the horticulture sector in Andhra Pradesh will account for 10-15 per cent of the states GDP and would provide livelihood to millions of farmers.

Recognizing the importance of horticulture and need for new technologies and manpower with reference to the changed scenario in horticulture and its growth potential in Andhra Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh Horticultural University was established by the Government of Andhra Pradesh through the G.O.Ms.No.134, dated 26 June 2007 (Act 30 of 2007). The university started functioning with effect from the academic year 2007-08, with headquarters at Venkataramannagudem, Tadepalligudem, West Godavari district A.P.The university runs on the Land Grant pattern followed in the USA, integrating Education, Research and Extension for the growth of Horticulture.

The APHU at present has four horticultural colleges, five polytechnics and 28 research stations, located in 9 agro-climatic zones of the state. The university offers B.Sc. (Hons.) Horticulture; M.Sc. (Horticulture) with specialization in (i) Fruit Science, (ii) Vegetable Science, (iii) Floriculture & Landscape Architecture, and (iv) Plantation, Spices & Medicinal Crops; and Ph.D. (Horticulture). The course curriculum prescribed by the IV Deans’ Committee of ICAR is being followed for the degree programme. Students besides course work, undergo Rural Horticultural Work Experience Programme and Hands-on training / experimental learning of 14 weeks duration each on specialized subjects, dealing with commercialization of horticulture in addition to rural training for the award of Batchelor’s degree. (i) protected cultivation of high-value crops (ii) post-harvest technology and value addition (iii) nursery production and management and (iv) floriculture and landscape gardening.

For the 2 year diploma programme in Horticultural Polytechnics, the students are trained in commercialisable and rural job-oriented technologies like production of genuine plants and seed material, tissue culture, bio-agents and bio-fertilizer production, vermicomposting, repair and maintenance of plant-protection equipment, disease and pest diagnosis, soil and plant analysis; grading, packaging and storage of fruits and vegetables; quality estimation in horticultural produce and e-extension.

The university is conducting basic, applied, location or region-specific and anticipatory research for the overall development of horticultural crops in the state at 28 research stations located in 9 agro-climatic regions of the state. The research programmes are covered under three categories viz., Non-Plan Projects/University Projects, ICAR Plan Projects under All India Coordinated Research projects, and State Horticulture Mission Projects. The university takes up collaborative research programmes with other organizations like ICAR institutes, State Horticultural Mission, and National Horticultural Board on important national problems of horticultural crops.

Education of rural youth in horticulture and allied areas is the main function of the horticultural extension. The extension activities include technology assessment and refinement, train master trainees and farmers; organize kisan melas, exhibitions, rythu sadassulu etc. Horticultural information centers have single-window delivery, disseminate information through electronic media, conduct on-farm research, demonstrate technologies in the farmer’s fields, and supply disease-free quality seeds and planting materials to the farmers.