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Crop diversification under Japan firm boon for Indian farmersqrcode

Oct. 30, 2020

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Oct. 30, 2020

The crop diversification project has improved the economy of farmers, and 33 irrigation schemes that are operating on solar energy have reduced the expenditure of farmers in the region. The Rs 321 crore Himachal Pradesh Crop Diversification Project (HPCDP) was started in the region with funds from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in 2011. 

The project aimed at promoting crop diversification in the target areas of five districts — Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Kangra, Mandi and Una — in the state through the development of necessary infrastructure such as irrigation facilities and farm access roads, along with technical training of farmers on vegetable, foodgrain cultivation and post-harvest management.

Sunita Patial, a progressive farmer and educator from Lahri village, near here, said that the HPCDP and the JICA had brought revolutionary improvement in farming in the villages. She added that farmers, besides conventional farming, had adopted cultivation of mushrooms, peas, broccoli etc.

Dr Vinod Sharma, project director, said 70 irrigation schemes were introduced by JICA that included 31 in Hamirpur, 20 in Bilaspur and 19 in Una. He said 33 of threse were operating on solar energy that had become boon for farmers as they had zero expenditure on electricity.

These 33 solar powered irrigation schemes included 12 in Hamirpur, 11 in Bilaspur and 10 in Una districts. He said over Rs 5 crore had been spent on the construction of these irrigation schemes. The major objective was to increase income per unit area per unit time by diversifying to cash crop cultivation. He said sustainable growth of agriculture sector by promoting organic farming and ensuring prosperity of small and marginal farmers was the motive of the project. The knowledge and skill enhancement of farmers for the adoption of scientific technologies in cultivation, operation and maintenance of irrigation schemes was the success of crop diversification in the region, he added.

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