Shimla: Mission team of the Japan International Cooperation Agency assured to start second phase of the crop diversification promotion project soon in all districts of the state.

Mission team of the Agency headed by Deputy Director, South Asia Takumi Kunitake, which met Chief Secretary Dr. Shrikant Baldi to discuss about the launching of second phase of this project in the state, promised to complete all formalities before the completion of first phase.

This Mission team was on the tour of various districts of the state to study the positive results of the JICA funded crop diversification promotion project after launching of its first phase in five districts. It also held discussion regarding launching of second phase for which the state agriculture department had submitted Rs. 1104 crore project to the government of Japan through government of India in June, 2019.

Dr. Baldi acknowledged that project had helped in enhancing the crop production and the income of the farmers. He said the farmers had been actively involved under this project and they were managing the irrigation schemes at their own. The agriculture department had been successfully implementing this project and all the works were being completed as per the estimated cost.

He stressed that there was need to provide more irrigational facilities to the farmers and bring more area under vegetable cultivation. He urged the JICA to approve the second phase of this project before completion of first stage so that the expertise of the available trained staff could be utilised in next phase as well.

The Mission team apprised that after submission of its report, the government of Japan would take decision on launching of the second phase after which another Mission would visit Himachal Pradesh to study the detailed project report. Thereafter, the letter of consent would be signed with the India and Japan governments. The team assured that efforts would be made to start the second phase of this project in all districts of the state for which all the formalities would be finalised before the completion of first phase.

Director, Agriculture Dr. Rakesh Kaundal, Chief Project Advisor, JICA Dr. J.C Rana, Project Director, JICA Dr. Vinod Sharma and other senior officers were also present on the occasion.

The Mission team had also held detailed discussions with Principal Secretary Onkar Chand Sharma on Thursday. The team visited four out of total five districts included under the first phase of the project (Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Kangra and Mandi districts) and expressed satisfaction over the work done in enhancing the crop production and farmers income.