Shimla, June 5 (IANS) Market yards and small vegetable collection centres are being established across Himachal Pradesh to help farmers market their produce, an official said on Sunday.
Besides, the government is laying emphasis on marketing through cold stores and fruit vegetable yards.
Efforts to enhance agriculture production have brought satisfactory results with grain production reaching to a new height at 16.74 lakh tonnes in 2014-15. Besides, the state produced 1.81 lakh tonnes of potatoes in the same year, an official statement said.
Agriculture is the major occupation of the people of Himachal Pradesh.
According to the 2011 Census, it is the only state in the country where 89.96 per cent people live in rural areas and 70 per cent of the people are directly dependent upon agriculture for livelihood, which contributes 10.4 per cent to the gross state domestic product.
A total of 5.42 lakh hectare is under cultivation in the state.
The state’s climatic condition is favourable for growing cash crops like potato, ginger, garlic and off-season vegetables.
A provision of Rs 482 crore has been made in the state’s budget in this fiscal for promoting off-season crops, especially vegetables.
The state launched the Rs 321-crore Himachal Pradesh Crop Diversification Project with the assistance of Japan International Cooperation Agency in June 2011.
The purpose of the project is to ensure crop diversification by providing farmers irrigation facilities and by connecting their fields by roads, promotion of organic produce besides vegetable production, and marketing through self-help groups for which they are provided technical knowhow.
As many as 247 small irrigation schemes and 147 link roads would be constructed as part of tbis project.
In most parts of the hill state, due to geographical conditions, water has to be lifted to higher levels for irrigation purpose.
The government has announced grant of 50 per cent subsidy for construction of lift irrigation schemes and installation of borewells by individuals or groups of farmers.
For setting up polyhouses with drip irrigation facilities, the farmers are being provided 85 per cent subsidy.
Under the scheme, 4,700 polyhouses and 2,150 sprinkler and drip units would be installed till 2017-18, besides installing 870 water sources with 50 per cent subsidy.