HISTORY OF DEPARTMENT OF HORTICULTURE AND PLANTATION CROPS
Birth of Horticulture Department
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 13.76 Lakh Ha and production touch 186.68 lakh MT (2017-18-Final advance estimate). The Department integrated all the area-specific and crop-specific various scheme and thrust areas were identified and technical staff were positioned in all the Districts at Block level as a “Unit” comprising of Assistant Director of Horticulture (ADH), one Horticulture Officer (HO) and Four field functionaries, viz. Assistant Horticulture Officer (AHO).
Horticulture strengthened its root
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. Tamil Nadu, was thus a pioneer among the states in India to start a separate mission for promotion of Horticulture.
Emergence of New Agency
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.
TANHODA 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 Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) - National Horticulture Mission (NHM), Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY)" Per Drop More Crop", Tamil Nadu Irrigated Agriculture Modernization Project (TN-IAMP), National Agro Forestry and Bamboo Mission, National Ayush Mission- Medicinal plants.
Besides the Schemes, there are 63 State Horticulture Farms and 19 Parks and gardens under the control of TANHODA.
The Financial approval for the Farms are approved by the Governing council, headed by the Agriculture Production Commissioner/ Director/ Commissioner of Horticulture as Managing Director. The other members are the heads of Departments - The Director of Agriculture, Additional Secretary to Government Finance Department, The Commissioner of Agricultural Marketing and Agri Business, The Chief Engineer, Agricultural Engineering Department, The Director, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department, and The Dean (Horticulture) Tamil Nadu Agriculture University.