Himachal Pradesh is promoting organic farming in a big way and over 22,000 hectare has been brought under organic farming. A Rs 321 crore project is under implementation in the state for diversification of agricultural activities under which the farmers are being motivated to adopt organic farming and grow cash crops, an official said.
A senior official of the State agriculture department said that the project, being implemented in five districts of the State, has yielded good results and a large number of farmers have come forward to switch over to organic farming and go for off season cash crops cultivation as the state emerges as a front runner in organic farming, an official spokesman here said.
A target of bringing 2,000 hectare of additional land under organic farming has been set while 200 bio villages have already been set up in the state, he added.
The state government has announced first, second and third prizes of Rs 3 lakh, Rs 2 lakh and Rs one lakh respectively for the progressive farmers adopting organic farming.
According to the official, the scheme is being implemented in Kangra, Una, Bilaspur, Hamirpur and Mandi districts in collaboration with Japan International Co-operation Agency (JAICA). So far, Rs 212 crore had been spent under the scheme and a provision of Rs 80 crore has been made for the current financial year.
Agriculture Development Society is a key player in implementing the scheme engaged in developing irrigation facilities, motivating farmers to adopt organic farming and producing cash crops. Agriculture University Palampur has separately established Organic Farming Wing for giving direction and momentum to the campaign in the state.
The farmers of Shimla, Solan and Sirmour districts have already taken a lead in getting themselves registered for organic farming and taken up vegetable cultivation, supplementing the efforts of the state government to promote organic farming.
Consumption of chemicals is very low at 158 grams as against the average of 381 gms per hectare in the country and potential for expanding organic farming was very high, the spokesman added.
As Sericulture is an important component in promoting organic farming, the state government is giving special impetus to vermi-compost production in large scale and the farmers are being provided 50 per cent subsidy for installing vermi-compost unit and 1.50 lakh such units have been established in the state so far. A target of setting up 20,000 more such units had been fixed to ensure adequate availability of vermi-compost to the farmers.
The state government has fixed the norms for maintaining quality of vermi-compost and for giving commercial dimension to this activity, commercial units of vermi-compost are being established in the state and five units for production of Bio fertilizers have been established so far.
Himachal Pradesh has received Krishi Karmanya Awards for two consecutive financial years in 2014-15 and 2015-16 for excellent enhancement in agriculture production.