1. Agriculture World

Himachal Farmers are Harvesting Benefits of Crop Diversification Project

Sangeeta Soni
Sangeeta Soni

Recently, Himachal Government introduced Crop Diversification Promotion Project that is being implemented with the help of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). This project is giving unmatched results, and increased the yield of wheat and maize, and helping farmers of Badsala village in Una district to move on the road to success and profitability.

One of the farmers was purchasing food grains from the market, and now the situation is that, those farmers are selling their produce in the market and earning profits.

In May 2017, irrigation facilities were provided to the farmlands in Badsal village through the tube-well installed under JICA’s direction. 14.37 hectares’ area, constructed at a cost of near to Rs 46 lakhs, was brought under the irrigation project. And that has resulted in increase in the yield of wheat and maize in that area.

Phases of the Project and Minister’s Words

Virendra Kanwar, State Agriculture Minister said, “The first phase of the JICA- led project is going to close by December this year. This project was implemented in five districts in the first phase, including Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Kangra, Mandi and Una.

Kanwar also mentioned that, “Farmers were given training on vegetable and cereal growing and also post-harvest management techniques. Basic facilities like irrigation and road access to the fields were developed under the project.”

And talking about the second phase, for the second phase, the proposed expenditure of the project is ₹1,104 crores. A memo of understanding in this regard is most probable to be signed with JICA in Mar4ch 2021.

Minister mentioned that, “Before the implementation of the project in Badsala, the average yield per hectare was 18 quintals in the kharif season. But, after introducing the irrigation facility, the yield increased to 32 quintals per hectare in the corresponding period last year. And this rabi season, 41 quintals wheat was produced per hectare, which was earlier around 15 quintals per hectare only.”

He also added that farmers have now started growing vegetables on 2.4 hectares of land during the kharif season and on 4.55 hectares’ land during the rabi season.

Project Manager’s Words

Under the sub-project, Kulbhushan Dhiman, JICA Block Project Manager said that the Badsala farmers were provided with irrigation facilities, seeds, equipment, and training.

Dhiman also added that, “All these measures helped in raising their income by almost five times. Prior to this, a farmer used to earn ₹52,552 per hectare; which has now increased to Rs 2,71,197 per hectare in the year 2019-20.”

Farmers’ Words

Farmers of the village are extremely happy for the financial benefits they got because of the project. Mukesh Kumar said that because of the crop diversification project in the village, farmers have now started growing potatoes and other vegetables and are earning huge profits.

Another farmer, Sodhi Ram said, “The entire village has been benefitted by this initiative. The training provided to us as a part of the project has helped all the farmers understand the modern techniques of agriculture.”

Source- Hindustan Times

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