Asian Development Bank Approves $130 Million Loan For Promoting Horticulture In Himachal Pradesh
The Asian Development Bank has approved a $130 million (over Rs 1,072 crore) loan to increase agricultural productivity and promote horticulture agribusinesses to raise farmers’ income in Himachal Pradesh.
More than half of Himachal Pradesh’s land area is in the mountains and 90% of the population lives in rural areas who are dependent on agriculture, said Asian Development Bank Senior Natural Resources and Agriculture Specialist for South Asia Sunae Kim.
“Improving subtropical horticulture in the state offers a lot of economic opportunities to farmer households. Supporting horticulture value chains will also boost the subsector’s contribution to the country’s development and food security”, Kim said.
The Himachal Pradesh Subtropical Horticulture, Irrigation, and Value Addition Project will help increase the income and resilience to the effects of climate change of at least 15,000 farm households in Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Kangra, Mandi, Sirmour, Solan, and Una.
The project will improve on-farm irrigation and water management in about 6,000 hectares (ha) of farmland by rehabilitating and constructing new irrigation facilities, establishing new water sources, and strengthening the capacity of water user associations and of Jal Shakti Vibhag (Water Resources Department).
Farmers will be organised into cluster-wide Community Horticulture Production and Marketing Associations and district-wide CHPMA cooperative societies.
They will be introduced to other agricultural practices such as intercropping, beekeeping, and other modern agronomic techniques and skills, it said, adding, a Farmer Producer Company will be created at the state-level to lead agribusiness development with the aim of ensuring profitability and access to markets of subtropical horticulture.
The FPC will handle business plan development; agribusiness promotion; and designing value-addition facilities such as sorting and packaging facilities, and storage and collection centres.
Asian Development Bank is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members – 49 from the region, it added.