Himachal giving impetus to farming: Thakur

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Dharamsala, May 7 (IANS) Despite limited financial resources, Himachal Pradesh has proposed several new schemes to give impetus to farming, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said on Monday.

Addressing the inaugural function of two-day national workshop on ‘Challenges and Opportunities in Crop Diversification’ organized by the state Agriculture Department here, he said large number of new schemes have been earmarked for prosperity of the farmers.

Thakur said a new Scheme, ‘Prakritik Kheti Khushaal Kisan’ or organic farming makes farmers prosper has been launched to promote zero budget natural farming in the mission mode.

Farm mechanisation was the need of hour but many farmers were not able to purchase implements owing to lack of funds, he said, adding that the state proposes to establish ‘custom hiring centres’ in the state from where farmers could get these implements on a rental basis.

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All these incentives were aimed at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of doubling the farm income by 2022, he said.

He also said there was vast potential for cultivation of off-season vegetables and fruits and the state has created 59 market yards to ensure remunerative prices of their produce to the farmers.

The Chief Minister said the Himachal Pradesh Crop Diversification Promotion Project with an outlay of Rs 321 crore is bound to increase the farm income, while thanking the Japanese government for financial support of Rs 266 crore for crop diversification project.

He said the most needed input for providing assured irrigation by the project through micro irrigation and transferring of ownership of irrigation to the farming communities were the key features of its success.

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Thakur urged Japan to consider Rs 1,009 crore Phase II of the project which has been submitted to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) through the Union government.

State Agriculture Minister Ram Lal Markanda said the JICA project was quite suitable for the hill state as providing irrigation facility for crop diversification was a major constraint due to its tough topography.

The ongoing project has enabled 4,238 hectare to get the provision of irrigation.

Markanda said over 1,400 hectares have been diversified to vegetable cultivation, thereby increasing income of the farmers by four to five times.

–IANS

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