Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Tuesday launched Rs 1,010.60 crore phase-II of the HP Crop Diversification Promotion Project (HPCDP) that is funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) at Dharamshala in Kangra district.
Thakur said the state government was committed for the development of rural areas as more than 90 per cent of the total population lives in these areas and about 70 per cent of the population was dependent on the agriculture sector for livelihood.
“Despite limited financial resources and slowdown due to the Corona pandemic, the present government has launched various new schemes to promote irrigation, agriculture, horticulture, forestry and allied sectors besides ensuring all-round and equitable development of the state.
The phase-II of the JICA aided crop diversification project would be implemented in all the 12 districts of state and would give a big boost to the socio-economic status of farmer’s families.
The phase-I of the project being implemented in five districts of Mandi, Kangra, Hamirpur, Bilaspur and Una on pilot basis since 2011 has virtually transformed the economy of the farmers in these districts,” he added.
He stated that the main objective of this project was to disseminate a successful model of crop diversification and increase the vegetable area in the project area from 2,500 hectares to 7,000 hectares by 2031.
In order to fulfill the vision and commitment towards rapid development of the state, the government was mobilizing resources from all possible sources including the Central government, external funding agencies as JICA, World Bank and Asian Development Bank etc.
The state government considers JICA to be the most important source of financial support and partner in development of the state as there was a huge potential for cultivation of off-season vegetables in this region, the CM said.
He further stated that the state government has created a strong network of market yards to ensure remunerative prices to the farmers but still a lot more such Mandis were required so that farmers could have easy access to market produce and get better prices.
“Both India and Japan have developed systems of sustainable production instead of bulk production of food grains.
The United Nations has also set goals for sustainable development which were to be achieved by 2030. The government of Himachal Pradesh has institutionalized the sustainable development goals by supporting them in the budgetary and planning process and the state looks forward to meeting these goals in a record time.
The state is grateful to the government of Japan and the Government of India for leading the way for the prosperity of the farmers of this hilly state in the agricultural sector since 2007,” he added.
He also congratulated the management and staff of JICA project phase-I for their good work and thanked them for their active support and guidance by sending delegations from many Asian countries to see the project.