Himachal to increase vegetable cultivation area

Shimla, June 29 (IANS) Nearly 10 percent of cropped area is under vegetable cultivation in Himachal Pradesh and the government is committed to bring 4,000 more hectares under off-season vegetables cultivation, an official said on Wednesday.

Under Rs 100 crore Y.S. Parmar Kisan Swarozgar Yojana, a target has been set for constructing 4,700 poly-houses covering 8.3 lakh square metre area, Additional Chief Secretary Shrikant Baldi said at the release of a report, “Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare — Himachal Pradesh”.

The state Department of Economics and Statistics compiled the report containing data regarding development and achievements of the state in agriculture and horticulture.

He said the farmers were being provided 85 per cent subsidy by converging the subsidy under Horticulture Technology Mission and creating an employment of opportunity for 20,000 people.

Baldi said the government was exploring the possibility of coffee cultivation. The Coffee Board of India had surveyed areas in Kangra, Una, Mandi and Bilaspur districts.

He said the government had also decided to exempt levy of market fees on all vegetables and fruits and improved varieties.

“Rootstocks of apple, pear, cherry, walnut and strawberry are being imported and distributed among farmers. To protect food crops, especially apple, from hailstorm, the government has enhanced the subsidy on anti-hail nets to 80 percent,” he said.

Baldi said the state had launched World Bank-funded Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Development Project with an outlay of Rs 1,115 crore to provide new technologies to the horticulturists for increasing the productivity and capacities.

Himachal Pradesh annually earns Rs 2,500 crore from the cultivation of vegetables while horticulture generates more than Rs 3,200 crore annually.

The cultivation of exotic vegetables and flowers in poly-houses and setting up of controlled atmosphere chains is expected to add to earnings for growers.



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