Farmers in Una village reaping benefits of crop diversification project
After irrigation facility was introduced at Badsala village, it recorded an unprecedented increase in the yield of wheat and maize.Updated: Sep 27, 2020, 20:20 IST
The Himachal government’s crop diversification promotion project, which is being implemented with the help of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), has started to set the farmers of Badsala village in Una district on the path of prosperity.
The farmers who were once purchasing foodgrains from the market are now selling their produce and earning a profitable income.
It was in May 2017 that the facility of irrigation was provided to farmlands in Badsal from a tubewell installed under JICA’s supervision.
An area of 14.37 hectares was brought under the irrigation project, constructed at a cost of about ₹46 lakh, which recorded an unprecedented increase in the yield of wheat and maize in the area.
State agriculture minister Virendra Kanwar said that the first phase of the JICA-led project is going to close by December this year. In this phase, a ₹321-crore project was implemented in five districts —Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Kangra, Mandi and Una.
“Farmers were given training on vegetable and cereal growing and post-harvest management techniques. Basic facilities like irrigation and road access to the fields were developed under the project,” said Kanwar.
For the second phase, the proposed outlay of the project would be ₹1,104 crore. A memorandum of understanding in this regard is likely to be signed with JICA in March 2021.
“Before the implementation of the project in Badsala, the average yield per hectare was 18 quintals in the kharif season. But, after introducing the irrigation facility, the yield rose to 32 quintals per hectare in the corresponding period last year,” the minister revealed.
This rabi season, 41 quintal wheat was produced per hectare. Earlier, the yield would be around 15 quintals per hectare only, said Kanwar.
Farmers also started growing vegetables on 2.4 hectares of land during the kharif season and 4.55-hectare area in the rabi season, he added.
Under the sub-project, JICA block project manager Kulbhushan Dhiman said Badsala farmers were provided with irrigation, seeds, equipment and training.
“All these measures helped in raising their income by almost five times. Earlier, a farmer used to earn ₹52,552 per hectare; which increased to ₹2,71,197 per hectare in the year 2019-20,” Dhiman informed.
Farmers from the village are elated about the financial benefits of the project.
Mukesh Kumar said because of the crop diversification project in the village, farmers have started growing potatoes and other vegetables and are earning huge profits. “Besides the irrigation facilities, seeds, equipment and training are also being provided to us.”
Another farmer, Sodhi Ram, said the entire village has been benefited by this initiative. The training provided as part of the project has helped farmers understand the modern techniques of agriculture, he added.