Agriculture and allied sectors have significant contribution in the economy of Himachal Pradesh . This sector contributes about 10 percent in the State's Gross Domestic Product. Agriculture activities are being carried in 5.42 lakh hectare area in the State. Several schemes and programs have been started by the State Government to strengthen the economy of farmers along with the increase in the production of agricultural products. The State's climate is very congenial for growing off-season crops and special attention is being given to promote the cultivation of off-season vegetables by the State Government which is showing better results. Vegetable cultivation was carried in 78.680 hectare area in the State in 2017-18, which resulted in 16,91,564 metric tons production. A budget of Rs. 688 crores has been allocated for agriculture in the year 2018-19.
The emphasis is on crop diversification to increase the income of farmers in the State. Presently JICA Crop Diversification Scheme is being implemented in five districts of the State at a cost of Rs. 300 crores. Under the zero budget farming, Prakartik Kheti-Khushal Kisan Scheme has been started by the State Government. Under this Scheme, training and workshops are being organized to make farmers aware about natural farming. 80 percent subsidy is being given for maintaining the cow-sheds. To make the input for natural farming, farmers are being given 75 percent subsidy on drums. In addition to this, a provision of assistance upto Rs. 50,000 has been made for opening of natural resource stores in each village for the supply of inputs in natural farming. The State government has made a provision of Rs. 25 crore for this scheme during current financial year.
State Government has also started State Agricultural Mechanization Programme to provide the agricultural machinery at subsidized rate to farmers. Under the Programme, a provision of 50 percent subsidy has been made for the farmers to purchase tractors. Similarly, provision of 50 percent subsidy has been made for the purchase of Power Tiller. During the current financial year, a budget of Rs. 20 crore has been made under the programme.
Solar Irrigation Scheme has been started for promoting agriculture and bringing more area under irrigation in the State. Under the scheme, 90 percent financial assistance is being provided to the small and marginal farmers to install pumping machinery individually for irrigation with solar pumps, whereas 80 percent financial assistance is being provided to the farmers of the middle and big categories for install pumping machinery. The government has made a provision to provide 100 percent investment in the installation of pumping machinery at the community level. Under the scheme, Solar Pumps of one to 10 Horse Power are being installed. Under the scheme, a budget of Rs. 200 crore has been made for five years. Another scheme 'Jal Se Krishi Ko Bal' has been started under which Check dams and ponds are being constructed to provide irrigation water to the farmers. Under this scheme, a provision of Rs. 40 crore has been made for this financial year and a provision of Rs. 250 crore has been made for the next five years.
The Flow Irrigation Scheme has also been started by the State Government, for renewal of the water sources and strengthening of canals in community areas. Apart from this, financial assistance of 50 percent financial assistance is being provided for construction of borewells and wells at individual level under the scheme. A provision of Rs. 25 crores has been made for the scheme in this year. Mukhya Mantri Khet Sanrakshan Yojna has been launched under which the farmers are being provided 80 percent subsidy for solar fencing, whereas 85 percent financial assistance is being provided to three or more farmers for collective fencing.
Special emphasis is being laid on the construction of Poly Houses to promote safe farming by the State government. Mukhya Mantri Green House Renovation Scheme has been started and the grant amount has been increased from 50 percent to 70 percent after five years or for the replacement of a poly sheet damaged due natural calamities. Under this scheme, a provision of Rs. 3 crore has been made this year.
The efforts of State government to promote agriculture and upgrade the economy of the farmers will help in achieving the target of doubling the income of the farmers in the State by 2022.