Courtesy: PR DEPTT, HP GOVT
Agriculture and Horticulture played significant role in enriching the economy of the Pradesh. Both these sectors are not only providing employment to local people but also contributing immensely to the State's economy. State Government has set up H.P. Marketing Board to facilitate the growers to ensure remunerative prices for their produce.
The upgradation of farm technology and diversification of farming are immensely supplementing the efforts of the Farmers. These techniques and modes of diversification of farming are proving beneficial to the fruits, vegetables and other cash crop growers in the State. The Board has created marketing infrastructures and other developmental activities to facilitate the growers in marketing their produce.
Construction of small link roads, installation of ropeways and improvement of market yards in the Notified Market area are the thrust areas of the Board. Besides, H.P. marketing Board is organizing farmers training camps, creating export promotional activities, moderanisation of Markets for both domestic and export purposes, research and development activities in different areas of the marketing. Market Yards at Dhalli and Solan are being expanded and modernized. 15.70 lakh quintals vegetables and 9.80 lakh quintals fruits being marketed through yards. Rs.2.80 crore to be spent on construction of link roads during current financial year. In order to reduce distance between farm and market and to facilitate the marketing of agricultural and allied produce, the Board has constructed market yards at different places of the State. Presently 46 Market yards at various places of the Pradesh are providing service to the farmers. Four yards at a cost of Rs. six crore are being constructed at Jawalamukhi, Rohroo, Nahan and at Santhokhgarh. The Board is also planning to set up two market yards at Palampur in Kangra District and Kangni in Mandi at a cost of Rs 7.50 crore.
Existing Market Yards at Dhalli and Solan are being expanded and modernized and about Rs 80 crore would be spent for the purpose. In the absence of proper roads, farmers are compelled to sell their produce to local traders or have to carry upto road heads on their back or by mules etc. which substantially increases the marketing cost. The Board is also solving this problem by constructing small link roads and has benefited the farmers of 217 villages by constructing link roads length of 127 Kms. in different market areas.
The Board has also benefited 52 villages during previous year and Rs 88 lac were spent for construction of roads, Rs. 2.80 crore is proposed to be spent during current financial year on the road construction activities. At Present about 15.70 lacs quintals vegetables and 9.80 lac quintals fruits were being marketed through the existing yards in the State. In hilly terrain where link roads construction are expensive, the Board is constructing ropeways to link such areas with road heads.
Five Ropeways have so far been constructed and two more would soon be constructed by the board in the State. Due to tough physio-geographic of the Pradesh where means of transportation are not easily available, the Board has started construction of Collection Centers at strategic points of the State. Rs 17.40 lac has been incurred for construction of seven collection Centers at Delath, Janedghat, Throla in Shimla, Sunched and Kolkwala in Kangra Balera in Solan and Bhutti Manal in Sirmour District. The Marketing Board is also encouraging farmers to adopt new packaging material.
Besides, Plastic Crate are being distributed among farmers on subsidized rates which are light in weight, sturdy, durable and smooth surfaced. These crates could be used for collecting, grading and temporary storage of fruit and vegetables. The Board has distributed more than 60,000 crates involving subsidy of Rs. 24.35 lacs.
Farmers awareness Camps and Exposure visits are also organised by the Boards to keep them aware about post harvest handling and marketing their crop. More than 85,000 farmers have been imparted training and Rs 6.13 lac spent for organising 40 Camps on the State. For saving the farmers from exploitation, daily market rates of 24 agricultural commodities prevailing in 10 markets of the State are being made available to them through AIR Shimla.
This information have been made available through Market Information Network Scheme. The Board is making all functional yards modernized by installing computers with Internet and allied Communication Services. It has a plan to display the daily Market rates of different agriculture produce for the benefit of the farmers in Market Yards in the near future. The efforts of the Board will not only boost the agro-economy of the State but also encourage the farmers to grow qualitative produce to compete at inter- State and National markets to get remunerative prices for their produce.