Himachal vegetable cultivation reaps over Rs.2,500 crore

Shimla, July 19 (IANS) The vegetable cultivation in Himachal Pradesh, especially off-season, has increased the state’s annual production to 14.60 lakh tonnes, and taken the state’s annual revenue well over Rs.2,500 crore, an official said here on Sunday.

In the current kharif (monsoon) season, four lakh hectares have been covered under food grain and the target of production has been fixed at 8.85 lakh metric tonnes, an official of the state agriculture department said.

During this fiscal, Rs.450 crore would be spent under various schemes to give boost to agriculture production and to increase the income of farmers, he told IANS.

Top priority is being accorded to crop diversification, for which Rs.66 crore are being spent during this fiscal, he added.

The state’s agriculture and horticulture-based economy is highly dependent on the monsoon.

The official said it has also been decided to continue coffee plantation on 10 hectares during this fiscal and to extend weather-based crop insurance scheme to peas, tomato and ginger crops.

The state has approached Japan International Cooperation Agency for the second phase of the crop diversification project under technical cooperation, he said.

The agriculture department is also implementing four national programmes for which Rs.90 crore have been earmarked.

The state has launched several schemes to transform agriculture into agri-business, including the Rs.110-crore Y.S. Parmar Swarojagar Yojana, Rs.154-crore Rajiv Gandhi Micro Irrigation Scheme, and the Rs.20 crore Borewell and Lift Irrigation Scheme.

To provide compensation to the farmers and farm labourers in case of accidental injury or death, the state government has launched Mukhya Mantri Kisaan Evam Khetihar Mazdoor Jeevan Suraksha Yojna.

A compensation of Rs.150,000 will be given in case of death while working on the farm or machinery, and Rs.50,000 in case of permanent disability.

Himachal Pradesh annually earns about 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 the setting up of controlled atmosphere chains is expected to add to earnings for growers.

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