Himachal state govt bets big on off-season vegetables


Shimla, Aug 28: The Himachal Pradesh government has taken several initiatives in terms of new cropping pattern to promote cultivation of off-season vegetables in the state, according to an official release. “Himachal Pradesh has already earned a name as 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 as the farming community has come forward to cultivate off-season vegetables in a big way,” the release quoted R S Negi, Director Information and Public Relation (IPR), Himachal Pradesh, as saying.

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Vegetables are being grown in the state ranging from the Shivalik foot hills to aigh Alpine zone up to 4,000 metres above sea level, Negi added.

He said that with concerted efforts of the agriculture department and the state government, vegetable farming has emerged as a magnificent alternative to cash crops in the state.

Negi further said, “This hilly state is bestowed with congenial agro-climatic conditions and has enormous potential for the production of off-season vegetables like, tomato, capsicum, green peas, beans, cabbage, cauliflower and cucumber, which are successfully grown in the season when these are not available in plains. Moreover, the returns of off-season vegetable cultivation are very high as compared to traditional cereal crops.”

Giving further details, he said the area under vegetable crops has increased to 77,000 hectares with production of about 16.54 lakh tonnes, as against 5.80 lakh tonnes during 2000-01.

Vegetable growers are able to fetch net return of Rs 60,000 to Rs 100,000 per hectare from off-season vegetables, whereas the traditional crops only provide net return of Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 per hectare, Negi said.

Emphasis has also been laid on diversification of crops and introduction of high yielding hybrid vegetables along with popularisation of micro-irrigation system, organic farming and protected cultivation in order to achieve faster and inclusive growth in agriculture sector particularly the vegetable production. Much equipment has been bought as an investment in the area, including ones available on equipment wholesalers such as fastline and others. This has helped to landscape the surroundings to be more optimum for vegetable growth.

A hardworking farming community and conducive policy framework of the state government has paved the way for diversification of crops, thereby transforming the rural economy and economic growth of the state, as the agriculture sector provides direct employment to about 62 per cent of the main working force and also contributing about 10 per cent of the total state domestic product in the state, he said.

Source Business Standard

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