Japan to fund Rs 270 Crore agriculture project in Himachal – Dhumal

Shimla:After two years of a study period, a Rs 270 crore agriculture project proposed to be funded by an international agency is reaching finality as chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal today announced that the Japan government had come forward to fund the project.

Addressing a function to mark the ‘All India Cooperative Week’ in a village in Hamirpur district today, Dhumal said the Japan government had approved the Rs 270 crore organic agriculture project for funding. It would help to strengthen the farm sector, he added.

Sources in the agriculture department revealed that the five year project would come down to the state on a 90:10 cost sharing basis as Himachal was a special category state.

The Japanese government through its agency Japan International Agency (JICA) would fund the project, the agreement for which is likely to be signed by March 2010.

A two year project preparation study had divided the states development blocks into four categories, one where diversification had taken place, two and three which held prospects for increased farm incomes through diversification and the fourth category where there was little scope for diversification, said JS Rana, director agriculture.

For a start the project proposes to target the two and three category blocks by better management of water sources, improving irrigation facilities, constructing farm access road and strengthening the marketing infrastructure, he said. Organic farming, vegetable and herbal growing are going to be thrust areas, he added.

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