Himachal Pradesh to Seek New Horticulture Development Project (HDP 2.0)

The Himachal Pradesh government is seeking a new World Bank-aided Horticulture Development Project (HDP) after the current project ends in June 2024. The existing project, with a budget of Rs 1,000 crore, focused on temperate fruits like apples and stone fruits.

What is HDP?

HDP stands for Horticulture Development Project. It's a government initiative, often supported by external funding like the World Bank, that aims to improve the horticulture sector in a specific region. These projects typically focus on various aspects of fruit and vegetable production, with the goal of increasing productivity, profitability, and sustainability for farmers.

HDP 2.0: Focus on Technology, Organic Farming, and Water Efficiency

The proposed HDP 2.0 will also have a budget of around Rs 1,000 crore. However, its focus will shift towards leveraging technology to improve fruit production and productivity. This includes promoting:

  • Organic Farming: The project will encourage a shift towards organic farming practices.
  • Water-Efficient Farming: Techniques that minimize water usage in horticulture will be a priority.
  • High-Density Plantation: The project aims to accelerate the transition from traditional apple orchards to high-density plantations, a method that has seen slower adoption than desired.

Successes of the Current HDP

The outgoing HDP focused on infrastructure development and providing resources to horticulturalists. Key achievements include:

  • Construction of Mandis: The project funded the building of several mandis, or marketplaces, for farmers to sell their produce.
  • Enhanced Cold Storage: New and improved cold storage facilities were built to extend the shelf life of fruits.
  • Imported Planting Material: High-quality planting material was imported from abroad to improve crop health and yields.
  • State-of-the-Art Processing Plant: A modern fruit processing plant was established at Parala to benefit growers.

Utilizing Remaining Funds and Seeking Extension

With the current HDP ending in June, there are still around Rs 50 crore unused. The government has requested a three-month extension from the World Bank to utilize these remaining funds.

Overall, HDP 2.0 reflects a shift towards sustainable and efficient horticultural practices in Himachal Pradesh. The project aims to empower farmers with new technologies and resources to increase fruit production and profitability.

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