Japanese loan for crop diversification in Himachal

February 18th, 2011 - 7:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, Feb 18 (IANS) Japan has committed a multi-billion loan to Himachal Pradesh for crop diversification, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said Friday.”For implementation of the Rs.321 crore Himachal Pradesh Crop Diversification Promotion Project, an accord was signed and exchanged between the ministry of finance and the government of Japan in Delhi Thursday,” Dhumal said in a statement here.

The project, being funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), would be implemented in a phased manner to promote crop diversification through development of farm infrastructure and training of farmers, he said.

The state was pursuing clearance of the project for the past two years, Dhumal added.

To implement the project, the government has set up an autonomous project management unit.

The project would enhance livelihood opportunities through promotion of high value crops, agro-based entrepreneurs and capacity building of farming communities.

Agriculture is the main occupation of the people in the hill state, providing direct employment to 69 percent of its workforce.

According to the state’s Economic Survey for 2008-09, 86 percent of the total land holdings are of small and marginal farmers, 13 percent are owned by semi-medium and medium farmers and 0.4 percent by big farmers.

More than 80 percent horticulture and agricultural activities here are based in rainfed areas.

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