Himachal Pradesh Crop Diversification Promotion Project

What is Himachal Pradesh Crop Diversification Promotion Project(HPCDP).Discuss its objectives.
(HPAS GS 3) - 8 marks


Himachal Pradesh is a hilly state located at the foot of the Western Himalayas. The state covers an area of 556.7 million hectares and has a population of 6.86 million people. Agriculture is the main occupation, with around 69% of the working population engaged in farming. However, agriculture accounts for only 20% of the Gross State Domestic Products (GSDP). The low productivity of agriculture is partly due to the limited area available for crop cultivation, which is only 10% of the total land area of the state. This is because of the hilly terrain, which means that more than 87% of the farmers are marginal (less than 1.0 ha, 68%) and small (less than 2.0 ha, 19%) landholders.

The demand for fresh vegetables is continuously expanding due to the rapid increase in population, especially in larger cities such as Delhi. To enhance agricultural development and farm income in rural areas, it is important to increase the productivity of the existing cultivated area by shifting from self-subsistence food grain cultivation to diversified agriculture. This can be achieved by adopting cash crops such as vegetables that are suitable for hilly and highland areas. However, to accomplish this, it is essential to overcome major constraints such as the shortage of irrigation facilities, farm roads, and insufficient marketing facilities.

Himachal Pradesh Crop Diversification Promotion Project

In 2012, the Government of Himachal Pradesh (GoHP) and the Department of Agriculture (DoA) launched the "Himachal Pradesh Crop Diversification Promotion Project" (HPCDP) with financial assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The objective of this project was to promote crop diversification in the state and improve the socio-economic status of farmers. The HPCDP-JICA Department has had a positive impact on increasing crop yields and farmers' income in the project area.

Phase I

  • Phase-I was implemented in selected sites in only 5 districts.
  • The project included the construction of 210 small irrigation schemes, 29.40 km of link roads, and 23 collection centers. 
  • The project area was limited to 5 districts: Kangra, Mandi, Una, Bilaspur, and Hamirpur.
  • Under the supervision of the National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE), a study was conducted to evaluate the impact of HPCDP-JICA. The crop diversification promotion project was worth Rs. 321 crores and was implemented in the state with the assistance of JICA. 
  • The success of HPCDP-JICA Phase-I, which was initially started from 2011 till 2018, led to a two-year extension till 2020.

The project's objectives include: 

1. Increasing the area and production of vegetables

2. Increasing the income of small and marginal farmers

3. Creating infrastructure for irrigation

4. Creating farm access through roads

5. Developing marketing linkages

6. Creating postharvest facilities

7. Increasing income per unit area per unit time by diversifying to cash crop cultivation

8. Training and capacity building of Department of Agriculture field extension staff.

Phase II

The Phase-II JICA ODA project is currently being implemented in all districts of the state, with a total project outlay of Rs. 1010.13 crore over a period of nine years. On 26th March 2021, the GOI and Japan International Cooperation Agency signed an MoU for the implementation of the second phase.

For the financial year 2022-23, a total of Rs. 40.00 crore has been allocated to HPCDP, out of which Rs. 34.60 crore has already been utilized. Additionally, a budget provision of Rs. 30.00 crore has been made to implement the scheme during FY 2023-24.

The project also aims to develop a successful model of crop diversification and increase the land under vegetable cultivation from 2,500 hectares to 7,000 hectares by 2031.

Transformational Impact

The ongoing implementation of HPCDP-JICA in five districts has already reshaped the agricultural landscape in Himachal. A recent report highlights a remarkable shift from cereals to vegetables, attributed to improved irrigation facilities provided by the project. Nearly all crops have exhibited positive growth, with a substantial increase in yield levels owing to the technical support, technology demonstrations, and training imparted in the project area.
The study highlights a commendable increase in the area under vegetable cultivation—232 percent in Rabi and an astounding 328 percent in Kharif. 
Furthermore, the yield of vegetables has recorded a noteworthy 108 percent increase in both Rabi and Kharif seasons, underscoring the positive outcomes of irrigation and other interventions introduced by the HPCDP-JICA.

Future Prospects and Sustainable Agriculture

To further stimulate agricultural development and augment farm income in rural areas, it is imperative to boost the productivity of existing cultivated areas. This involves transitioning from traditional self-subsistence crop cultivation to diversified agriculture, focusing on cash crops such as vegetables, particularly suitable for hilly and highland areas. Overcoming critical constraints, such as the scarcity of irrigation facilities, farm roads, and inadequate marketing facilities, is crucial for the sustained success of such initiatives.

In conclusion, the HPCDP-JICA stands as a beacon of agricultural innovation in Himachal Pradesh, paving the way for sustainable crop diversification, increased yields, and improved livelihoods for the state's farmers. 

HPAS,HPAS mains,hpgk,Agriculture,HPCDP Project,innovation

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post