Shimla, Jul 28 : The Himachal Pradesh Crop Diversification Promotion Project (HPCDP-JICA) aims at promoting crop diversification in Himachal.
The HPCDP-JICA being implemented by State Agriculture Department has made positive impact in increasing the yields of crops and income of farmers in the project area. Study conducted on the impact assessment by the National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE), Union ministry of agriculture and farmers' welfare, Rs 321 crore project is funded by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) under this project and in the first phase the project was implemented in five districts namely Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Kangra, Mandi and Una.
This project is aimed to develop necessary infrastructure such as irrigation facilities and farm access roads, in parallel with technical training for farmers on vegetable cultivation, food grain cultivation and post-harvesting technology. HP Agriculture Development Society (HPADS) is the implementing agency of the HPCDP-JICA. The project is visualised with the targeted outcome to improve the socio-economic status of the farmers. The project model can be replicated throughout the state as the Phase-I was implemented on the selected sites in 5 districts only.
The Principal Secretary (Agriculture) Onkar Sharma expressed happiness over the success of HPCDP-JICA Phase-I, which was initially started from 2011 till 2018 but due to great results during this time period, the Project has been given two years extension till 2020.
He said that government of India has approved this JICA Phase-II of around Rs 1104 crore in principle, which will be implemented in all the 12 districts of the state. This project has been sent to JICA for fund approval. Due to the implementation of the Project which is running in five districts of Himachal has changed the scenario when we talk about crop diversification.
According to a recent report there is a shift in area from cereals to vegetables considerably after providing irrigation through this project. Almost all the crops have shown a positive growth and increase in yield levels due to the technical support, technology demonstration and training imparted in the project area.
The study has further revealed that the average net farm income has increased significantly and four times increase in incomes of farmers has been registered in the project area.
In order to boost the agricultural development and enhance the farm income in the rural areas, it is therefore important to increase the productivity of the existing cultivated area, through shifting from self-subsistence crop cultivation to diversified agriculture, by adopting cash crops such as vegetables cultivation suitable in hilly and highland areas. For such accomplishment, overcoming the major constraints, such as shortage of irrigation facilities, farm roads and insufficient marketing facilities is highly essential.
According to the study area under vegetables increased by 232 percent in Rabi and 328 percent in Kharif, and the increase in yield of vegetables recorded 108 percent both in Rabi and Kharif season after providing irrigation and other project interventions.(UNI)