The off-season vegetable production in the hill state of Himachal Pradesh has touched 1.4 million tonne annually while the turnover is around `2500 crore.
Agriculture experts in the state believe that there is still a vast scope for expansion of off-season farming, as only about 10% of the cropped area has been brought under vegetable cultivation till now.
"The state government is aiming to cover an additional 4,000 hectare area under off-season vegetables during 2014-15 and a budget provision of `55 crore has been made for this purpose," An agriculture department spokesperson said.
He also claimed that agriculture and allied sectors accounts for 30% of the gross state domestic product (GSDP). It provides direct employment to about 71% of the main working population. "The government is spending `384 crore on agriculture sector during this financial year," added.
In order to raise economic condition of farmers, diversification of cropping pattern has been given big boost in the state. Major emphasis has been laid on the production of off-season vegetables, quality vegetable seeds, potato and ginger besides soyabean, oil seeds and pulses.
Out of total geographical area of 55.67 lakh hectare, the area of operational holding is about 9.68 lakh hectare and is operated by 9.33 lakh farmers.
He said as per the agriculture census of 2005-2006, the average holding size comes to 1.04 hectare. Distribution of land holdings shows that 87.03% of the total holdings are of small and marginal farmers. A total of 12.54% of holdings are owned by semi medium/medium farmers and only 0.43% by large farmers.
Agriculturally, 2012-13 remained a good normal year. During the year, the foodgrain production achieved a record level 15.68 lakh tone against 15.44 lakh tonne during 2011-12. The production of potato was 1.83 lakh tonne in 2012-13 as against 1.52 lakh tonne in 2011-12. The production of vegetables during 2012-13 was 13.80 lakh tonne as against 13.57 lakh tonne in 2011-12.