Himachal emerging as India’s Natural Glass House, producing 16.54 lakh metric ton vegetables in 77000 hectares
Currently, the vegetable growers are fetching a net return of Rs. 60,000 to Rs. 100,000 per hectare from off-season vegetables
Shimla: Himachal Pradesh Government claims the diversification of crops has transformed the rural economy and economic growth of the state as the farming community is adopting new cropping pattern that has boosted the off-season vegetables in the state.
Himachal has already earned a name “the fruit bowl of the country” and now, the state is fast emerging as a ‘Natural Glass House’ of the country in the production of vegetables.
The agriculture sector provides direct employment to about 62 percent of the main working force and makes about 10 percent of the total state domestic product in the state.
The vegetable crops are grown in Himachal ranging from the Shiwalik foot hills to High Alpine Zone up to 4000 meters above sea level.
The area under vegetable crops has increased to 77000 hectares with a production of about 16.54 lakh metric ton as compared to only 5.80 lakh metric ton during 2000-01, said the government.
Returns of off-season vegetable cultivation are higher as compared to traditional cereal crops. The farming community shifted its focus from just cereal crops and are growing off-season vegetables like tomato, capsicum, green peas, beans, cabbage, cauliflower, and cucumber.
As per the official report, the traditional crops only provide a net return of Rs. 8000 to Rs. 10,000 per hectare to farmers. However, currently, the vegetable growers are fetching h net return of Rs. 60,000 to Rs. 100,000 per hectare from off-season vegetables.
The report further said 3050 poly houses covering an area of 5.50 lakh square meter have been set up under ‘Dr. Y.S. Parmar Kisan Swarojgar Yojana’.
About 40 thousand farmers have come forward for adopting organic farming in the state.
A Rs. 321 crore ‘Crop Diversification Promotion Project ‘ has provided irrigation facility for additional 935 hectares. About 1300 hectare command area has also been brought under irrigation under ‘Rajiv Gandhi Micro-Irrigation Scheme’.
The government attributed this growth to the initiatives of the Agriculture Department.
The farmers are provided subsidized materials and high yielding hybrids of vegetables. The micro irrigation system and organic farming were promoted, it said.
The government said it is making efforts to bring more area under irrigation facility as mostly the farmers are dependent on rain harvesting, said the government.
A ‘Centre of Excellence’ for vegetable nursery production has also been established at Jubberhati in Shimla district and two more such centers are being set–up at Solan and Mandi districts.