Agriculture has always played a significant role in the agrarian economy of Himachal Pradesh. More than 90 percent population of the state dwells in the villages, of which 70 percent is directly dependent upon agriculture and allied sectors which also contributes nearly 20 percent in gross domestic product of the state. So for, 5.43 lakh hectare of land has been brought under cultivation in the state.
Keeping in view the importance of agriculture sector and to facilitate farmers of the state at large, the state government has initiated schemes and programmes like National Agriculture Development Scheme, Crop Diversification Support Scheme, Dr. Y.S. Parmar Kisan Swarozgar Yojna and Mukhya Mantri Adarsh Krishi Gaon Yojna.
National Agriculture Development Scheme has been implemented in the state so as to accomplish four percent growth rate in agriculture and allied sector. Besides, Agriculture, Horticulture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries departments are also part & parcel of the execution of this scheme.
In its endeavour to give momentum to the diversified agriculture, the state government has implemented Rs. 321 crores Crop Diversification Support Scheme, under the aegis of Japan International Corporation Agency (JAICA), which envisages at providing irrigation facilities to the farmers, and encouraging organic farming at larger scale besides constituting farmer groups for engaging them in vegetable cultivation. The government is also providing them technical assistance for marketing of their produce vis-a-vis giving major focus on crop diversification culture.
JAICA is being implemented in five districts of the state including Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Mandi, Kangra and Una for a time period of seven years. Under the scheme as many as 210 small irrigation schemes and 140 link roads would be constructed besides opening of 37 collection centres.
A budget provision of Rs. 55 crores has been made under the scheme for the financial year 2014-15, and Rs. 46.47 crores have been spent during last two years on various agricultural activities.
The State Government has started another ambitious Rs. 111.19 crore Dr. Y.S. Parmar Kisan Swarozgar Yojna to benefit the farmers, 4700 polyhouses and 2150 sprinkler/drip units would be established in 2014 to 2018 and 85 percent subsidy would be provided to the beneficiaries.
The farmers are also being provided 50 percent subsidy for setting up small & medium water lifting pumping machinery. Under the scheme subsidy component has been enhanced to 85 percent for installing bamboo poly houses for the marginal farmers. A target of covering 8.35 lakh square meter area under protected agriculture and 8.20 lakh square meter area under minor irrigation has been fixed by spending Rs. 8 crore under the scheme.
Mukhya Mantri Adarsh Krishi Gaon Yojna was implemented in the state in 2014 under which agriculture development plans are being made for selected panchayat in each assembly segment and Rs. 10 lakh would be spent on creating agricultural infrastructure. A sum of Rs. 7.37 crores has been spent under the scheme during last two years.
To encourage farmers for switching to organic farming in the state, the agriculture department registering for organic farming and, so far, 26741 farmers have been registered and 15548 hectare land has been brought under organic farming and targeting to bring 2000 hectare more land under it this year. To avoid any mischief, an Organic Certification Agency has been set up in the state.
The government is providing 50 percent subsidy on vermi compost units and special attention is being given on free soil testing. A target of providing one lakh soil health card has been fixed for current fiscal. The state government is also providing subsidy on fertilizers and subsidy has been enhanced from Rs. 500 to Rs. 1000 per metric tonne during this fiscal.
The Agriculture Department is providing quality seeds for Rabi and Kharif crops to the farmers duly produced in its 28 seed farm houses in the state.
Marketing yards and small vegetable collection centres are being established at various places to facilitate the farmers for marketing their produce. Apart from this, the present state government is laying emphasis for marketing the produce through cold stores and fruit vegetable markets.