Himachal Pradesh government is connecting farmers with research centres to help them in adopting better farming practices and double their income by 2022.

A state government official said 13 research centers and 8 science centers have been made functional to provide advanced and latest information on agriculture and horticulture to farmers.

“The government has taken new imitative by connecting the farmers of their periphery with all the science centers with WhatsApp. This will result in farmers getting quick solution to their issues while receiving information related to seasonal crops,” he said. He said agriculture department has also started toll free helpline number ‘1550’ to redress the grievances of farmers on priority basis.

He said Himachal is the only state where 89.96 percent of the population lives in rural areas which result in their dependency on agriculture and horticulture as compared to other states.

The government has launched various schemes to give new direction to the agriculture sector and many other new schemes have been proposed so that people get maximum employment in this area.

Efforts are being made to strengthen the economy with full commitment to double the income of farmers by 2022 as has been announced by the Prime Minister, the official said.

The income of farmers will increase only when their production will increase and to achieve this motive, there is a need to strengthen adequate irrigation facilities.

For this, State government has started three new irrigation schemes- ‘Jal se Krishi ko bal’, Flow Irrigation Scheme’ and ‘Solar Irrigation Scheme’.

Under these schemes, Rs 250, Rs 150 and Rs 200 crores have been sanctioned respectively and besides this, new units of 111 minor irrigation schemes have been set up under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Irrigation Scheme.

In addition to this, Government has reduced the current tariff of electricity for irrigation from Rs 1 per unit to 75 paisa per unit, which will facilitate lakhs of farmers of the state.

In view of increasing the income of farmers, the Cabinet has approved the guidelines for the implementation of ‘Natural Farming-Khushal Kisan’ scheme.

This scheme will give new direction to natural agriculture and farmers will get encouraged to reduce the use of chemical fertilizers.

The government official said additional area under fruit and vegetable production is being brought and presently JICA Crop Diversification Scheme has been implemented in five districts of the state.

Now, the second phase of this scheme will be implemented in all the districts at a cost of Rs 1000 crore which would provide new direction to the agriculture in the state.

Apart from this, the government is trying to double the income of the farmers by expanding activities in various sectors of agriculture such as flower cultivation, bee-keeping, fisheries and dairy production, he added.