The Chief Minister emphasized the crucial role that the Himachali Diaspora plays in the state's progress and assured them of government support for their investment in these sectors.
Himachal Pradesh Secretary Agriculture Rakesh Kanwar said the main focus of Prakritik Kheti Khushhal Kisan Yojana (PK3Y) in this financial year will be to consolidate farmers, who are practicing natural farming in the state.
He was addressing a meeting of the Agriculture Department officers from the state in Shimla to discuss the cluster based agriculture development programme in HP here on Thursday.
Over 1.5 lakh farmers have already adopted natural farming techniques in agriculture and horticulture in Himachal, he said, adding that a study by an outside agency has shown that 28 percent farmers outside PK3Y have adopted natural farming techniques on their own through peer to peer learning without any training.
“The diffusion effect is so high, that it is better that we work on consolidation of the existing farmers, increase their area under natural farming, conduct their refresher workshops, capacity building training and exposure visits,” he said.
The meeting was attended by State Project Director, PK3Y, Naresh Thakur, Director, Agriculture, Dr Rajesh Kaushik, Joint Director, PK3Y, Dr Ravinder Singh Jasrotia, Project Directors (ATMA) and Deputy Directors, Agriculture from the state. Deputy Director, PK3Y, Dr Mahender Bhawani gave presentation on PK3Y progress so far.
Kanwar further said that it is no more a question that natural farming is beneficial or not, given the response and success in results on ground.
“Everyone is convinced that natural farming techniques are beneficial. We just need to take the practice further for overall benefits in agriculture,” he said.
He asked the Agriculture department officers to identify clusters, prioritize the issues there and come out with a specific need based budget for each cluster.
State Project Director, PK3Y, Naresh Thakur said PK3Y has achieved the earmarked targets in 2022-23.
“Over 51000 farmers have been certified under PK3Y for natural produce. Our effort in 2023-24 will be that all the 1.5 lakh farmers practicing natural farming are certified,” he said.
Thakur said the natural farming model villages in the state will also be strengthened.