In its endeavour to transform the farm and horticulture sectors and enhancing the farmer's income, the present state government has launched several new schemes focusing on providing irrigation facilities, lowering the cost of production, encouraging natural farming, crop diversification and the farm mechanization.
These efforts have already started yielding fruitful results and to give further impetus to the farm activities, the government is also implementing the centrally sponsored schemes effectively. The state is making best use of the central schemes along-with its own schemes to give maximum benefit to the farming community.
Raishtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) is being implemented for strengthening the farmer's efforts through creation of required pre and post-harvest agri-infrastructure, increasing their farm income, providing storage and market facilities and to plan and execute schemes as per local farmer's needs. Under this scheme, the state has formulated district agriculture schemes for the first time besides preparing a state agriculture scheme for ensuring development and expansion of the farm activities. The horticulture, animal husbandry and fisheries departments have also been associated with this scheme. Rs. 22.12 crores were spent during 2018-19 under the scheme while Rs. 26.78 crores would be spent during this financial year. The three projects of the agriculture departments have been approved on which Rs. 11.78 crores would be spent.
The National Mission on Agricultural Extension and technology (NMAET) is also being implemented in the state with the objective of restructuring and strengthening agricultural extension to enable delivery of appropriate technology and improved agronomic practices to the farmers. The use of ICT, popularisation of modern and appropriate technologies, capacity building, availability of quality seeds and plant protection are the main focus points of the scheme.
The ATMA programme has been started in all the districts of the state for spreading out the new agricultural technologies. The farmers groups, self help groups and farmers organisations have been set up under this programme at block level besides constituting a farmer's counselling committee. With a view to build healthy competition amongst the farmers and enhance the production, the government also honours the leading farmers. Rs. 14.44 crore would be spent on this programme during this year, while Rs. 14.15 crore were spent during last year.
The state is also implementing the National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) for enhancing agricultural productivity especially in rain-fed areas focusing on integrated farming, water use efficiency, soil health management and synergizing resource conservation. The state government has submitted a proposal of Rs. 10 crores under this scheme to the government of India and Rs. 8.62 crores were spent during last half and a half year under this scheme and 2205 hectare areas was brought under agriculture development.
The Agriculture department is providing free soil testing facility to the farmers under Soil testing scheme of the government of India so that they could enhance the production of their crops as per the recommendations of the specialists. For this purpose, the facility of 20 soil testing labs and 47 mini soil testing labs have been made available across the state and the soil testing service has also been included under H.P. Govt. Public Service Act, 2011 so as to ensure that farmers get report in a stipulated time period.
So far, 10,50,930 soil health cards have been distributed to the farmers of the state out of which 7,56,958 were given during last one and a half year.
Under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, efforts are being to bringing irrigation facilities to every farm in the country, expanding cultivable area under assured irrigation, improving on-farm water use efficiency and cutting down on wastage of water. Rs. 16.30 crore were spent under the scheme for providing irrigation facility to 2034 hectares area during last eighteen months.
The state government is also transmitting special programmes through regional radio and television centres to redress the problems of the farmer's and make them aware about latest advancements in the agriculture sector.
Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana is being implemented on 50:50 funding pattern between the state and the central government to providing comprehensive risks insurance against yield losses viz. drought, hailstorm, floods and pests disease etc. for the major crops likes maize, wheat, paddy, barley etc. For Kharif crops, the blocks have been selected for providing insurance cover in Solan, Bilaspur, Shimla, Sirmaur, Kangra Kullu and Mandi districts for tomato, crop, Solan, Bilaspur and Sirmaur districts for ginger crop, Shimla, Kinnaur, Lahaul, Mandi, Kullu and Chamba for pea, Chamba, Kangra, Kinnaur, Kullu, Lahaul and Spiti, Mandi, Shimla, Sirmaur and Una for potato, Kullu and Shimla (Theog) for cabbage and Lahaul-Spiti for cauliflower crop.
For the Rabi season, the tomato crop of Mandi and Solan districts, potato of Kangra district, garlic of Sirmaur and Kullu districts, capsicum of Dharampur (Solan) have been included under the crop insurance scheme. The state government has paid compensation to the tune of Rs. 19.41 crores to as many as 90.150 farmers of the state during last one and a half years.