Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal stated that State Government was considering to conduct an education tour of progressive farmers to developed countries to learn latest farming techniques to increase their crop yield and adopt water efficient irrigation techniques.

Chief Minister was addressing State-level Kisaan Samman Samaroh at Nalti in district Hamirpur for their outstanding contribution in the farm sector today, after he laid foundation-stone of Office and Training Centre Building of Hamirpur District Cooperative Union at Hamirpur, estimated at a cost of Rs. 30 lakh, Ayurvedic Health Centre at Khaggal, estimated to cost Rs.10 lakh, Improvement of LIS Neri-Kamlah estimated to cost Rs. 63.50 lakhs which will irrigate 41 hectares of farm land and dedicated Ambedkar Bhawan at Khaggal, constructed at a cost of Rs. 16.50 lakh besides performing Bhoomi Poojan of Matahani-Shastar road to cost Rs. 1.28 crore.

Prof. Dhumal said that State had waived off Tacavi and Land Conservation Loan of 43,485 farmers who had borrowed the same decades ago. He said that State Government had decided to provide 50 percent subsidy over seed and fodder to compensate the loss caused to crops due to less rains. He said that Rs. 425 crore Shah Nehar and Rs. 200 crore Siddhatha Medium Irrigation Schemes were nearing completion and would soon be dedicated to the farmers. He said that about Rs. 900 crore had been spent over channelizatiion of Swan River in district Una which had benefited thousands of farmers through reclaimation of their farmland. He said that Rs. 8 crore were spent on construction of check dams in district Hamirpur during 1998-2003 term of BJP which had raised the ground water level by about two meters and farmers adopted for vegetable cultivation yielding them an income of over Rs. 200 crore.

Chief Minister said that State had facilitated growers of upper and lower areas uniformly by providing them equal support price. He said that progressive farmers had successfully experimented cultivation of fruits cultivated in different ecological conditions as apple growers of Kotgarh had successfully grown Mango and farmers of Ghumarwin had cultivated apple crop. He underlined the need for providing farmers expert advice for cultivation of particular type of crop to yield high benefits. He said that six lakh farmers had been provided with soil testing certificates and farming experts needed to guide them for specific kind of crop cultivation. He said that State had launched crop insurance scheme and even poly houses had also been brought under the insurance cover.

Prof. Dhumal said that new milestones of development had been set in rural areas during BJP regime. He said that quality infrastructural facilities were now available to people at their doorsteps. He said that Rs. 100 crore modern marketing yard was coming up at Parala near Theog in district Shimla and similar Marketing Yard had been proposed to be opened for growers of lower Himachal. He said that marketing network was being strengthened with a view to provide marketing outlets to growers near to their home. He said that it would ensure that entire produce was sold through established marketing yards set up in the State thereby saving them from exploitation at the hands of middlemen.

Chief Minister said that farming had been considered to be the best avocation since ancient times as farming activities were considered major source of income. He said that even today 70 percent of population was engaged in farming activities. He said that Himachal Pradesh happens to be the leading State where 90 percent of population lives in rural areas and their living standard matched with urban living standard of many other States. He said that the State had done the best for rural upliftment during past four and a half years. He said that agriculture and Animal Husbandry had been income generating sources for rural masses in the State hence top priority was being accorded to the same by bringing about revolution in these sectors. He advised the farmers to adopt organic farming and strengthen their economy thereby giving new dimensions to the farm sector in the State.

Chief Minister honoured 102 farmers from different areas of the State with cash prize of Rs. 10,000 each which also consisted of 52 Excellent Farmer Groups getting cash prize of Rs. 20,000 each.

Urmil Thakur, local MLA thanked Chief Minister for all the inaugurations and foundation-stones laid in her home segment during his two day visit. She said that Rs. 321 crore JICA Organic Farming Project was bound to further boost traditional farming in the State. She congratulated awardee farmers for their outstanding achievements. She advised farmers to use certified seed. She said that the area was gaining popularity for cultivation of vegetables.

Pyare Lal Sharma, Chairman, APMC and State President, BJP Kisan Morcha thanked the Chief Minister for sanctioning modern marketing yards at Parala in district Shimla and for growers of lower areas each costing Rs. 100 crore. He counted various schemes of the State Government during past four years and said that Kisan Morcha would be honouring the Chief Minister shortly for all the benefits the State Government had delivered to farming community.

Dr. J.S. Rana, Director of Agriculture, welcomed the Chief Minister and detailed out the various schemes and activities being implemented for the betterment of farming community. He said that Himachal Pradesh was one of the three leading states of the country for envisioning Organic Policy to promote organic farming and certification of the produce. He said that Rs. 8.19 crore worth of subsidy was paid on distribution of power tillers to the farmers. He said that 5.95 lakh farmers had been issued soil health cards. He exhorted farmers to take benefit of the schemes of the government for their economic prosperity.

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