With a view to boosting the economy of farmers, the Himachal Pradesh government has allocated Rs 688 crore for agriculture sector, which contributes 10 percent in the State’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

A government official said several schemes and programs have been started to strengthen the economy of farmers along with the increase in the production of agricultural products.

The State’s climate is very congenial for growing off-season crops and special attention is being given to promote the cultivation of off-season vegetables which was now showing better results.

“Vegetable cultivation is carried in 78.680-hectare area in the state in 2017-18 and HP has recorded a production of 16,91,564 metric tons,” he said.

Further, emphasis is being laid on crop diversification to increase the income of farmers in the state.

Presently, JICA Crop Diversification Scheme is being implemented in five districts of the state at a cost of Rs 300 crores.

Under the zero budget farming, Prakartik Kheti- Khushal Kisan Scheme has been started and training and workshops are being organized to make farmers aware about natural farming.

He said 80 percent subsidy is being given for maintaining the cow-sheds. To make the input for natural farming, farmers are being given 75 percent subsidy on drums.

In addition to this, a provision of assistance upto Rs 50,000 has been made for opening of natural resource stores in each village for the supply of inputs in natural farming.

The government has made a provision of Rs. 25 crore for this scheme during current financial year.

The government has also started State Agricultural Mechanization Programme to provide the agricultural machinery at subsidized rate to farmers.

Under the Programme, a provision of 50 percent subsidy has been made for the farmers to purchase tractors, he said, adding similarly, provision of 50 percent subsidy has been made for the purchase of Power Tiller. Solar Irrigation and Flow Irrigation Schemes have been started for promoting agriculture and bringing more area under irrigation in the state.

“The efforts of the government to promote agriculture and upgrade the economy of the farmers will help in achieving the target of doubling the income of the farmers by 2022,” he added.