Himachal extends Japan-funded crop diversification project

Shimla, July 22 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on Friday signed a pact for the second phase of crop diversification.

An MOU was signed here between state Agriculture Secretary Anuradha Thakur and funding agency JICA’s Chief Representative Takema Sakamoto.

State Agriculture Minister Sujan Singh Pathania, who was also present on the occasion, said the government completed the project phase one in November last, and the new project would be for five years with a loan of Rs.321 crore funded by JICA.

He said the new phase aims to uplift and stabilise farmers’ livelihood level through further expansion of crop diversification according to agro-ecological situations in five districts — Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Kangra, Mandi and Una.

Pathania said the project would focus on the enhancement of crop diversification model which was developed under the first phase and would ensure strengthening the organisational capacity of the agriculture department to promote crop diversification through training of the farmers.

The minister said the activities of the project would be held in over 200 irrigation sub-project sites covering 3,710 hectares which have been developed under the on-going JICA supporting Official Development Assistance (ODA) Loan Project.

He said JICA’s experts would be dispatched for assisting vegetable farming, post-harvest activities, marketing, water management, gender empowerment and social inclusion.

–IANS

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