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JICA supported Phase-II Crop Diversification Project of Rs. 1010 crore to start from this year: Virender Kanwar

Shimla. Himachal Pradesh Agriculture Minister Virender Kanwar has said that Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is expected to be signed by March end 2021 for the loan agreement for Rs. 1010 Phase-II of the HP Crop Diversification Promotion Project (HPCDP). He said that it will be implemented in all the 12 districts of state to boost up the socio-economic status of farmers’ families as has been achieved in the phase-I of the project being implemented in five districts- viz- Mandi, Kangra, Hamirpur, Bilaspur and Una since 2011.

Himachal Pradesh Agriculture Minister Virender Kanwar was presiding over the Governing Council meeting of the HP Agriculture Development Society, the organisation executing the project last evening.

Agriculture Minister asked the department and the project authorities to complete the preparations during the effectuation period of three months after the execution of loan agreement in March end, so that the project activities of the phase-II begin immediately. He said that the preparations needed during this period include setting up project management units (PMUs), finalisation of first batch of 60 sub-projects, finalisation of extension officers headquarters, preparation of APO, hiring of office accommodation for PMU’s, process for hiring outsource agency, PMC, CA, Architect, amendment in rules etc, and added there shall be no laxity in the readiness to immediately launch the activities.

Agriculture Minister further revealed that the new phase of the HPCDP will have the JICA Loan component of Rs. 807.30 crore while the State’s share will be Rs. 203.30 crore, which has been proposed with the objective to replicate the Phase-I pilot model in the entire state to explore untapped potential of vegetables as identified in master plan by JICA study.

Virender Kanwar said that in the next project 296 sub-projects for providing irrigation to convert 7433 hectares under crop diversification have been envisaged, while ten other sub-projects will be taken up for crop diversification conversion of 500 hectare, where irrigation facilities are already available. The targeted increase of gross income per hectare is expected to be Rs. 2.50 lakh at the end of the project from the existing Rs. 50,000 per hectare, he added.

Agriculture Minister said that in order to concentrate in the 306 sub-projects for maximum development of the farmers and farming families, activities of the various departments will be converged. He desired that this will begin with the convergence of development activities of the departments under his control that is, agriculture, animal husbandry, fisheries, rural development and fisheries, SAU and KVKs.

Additional Chief Secretary (Agri) Nisha Singh apprised the members of the Governing Council about the progress made in Rs. 321 crore Phase-I of the HP Crop Diversification Project being implemented with the support of JICA and the Government of India and proposed features of the Phase-II of project.

Representative of Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare of GoI, Planning and Finance Departments of HP Government, Director Agriculture, Managing Director of Marketing Board, State Agriculture University, Chief Project Advisor Dr. J.C. Rana also expressed their views during the meeting. Project Director Dr. Vinod Sharma made presentations on the proposed activities of the Phase-II and outcomes of the Phase-I of the HP Crop Diversification Project.

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