Transforming Himachal by Harnessing the Power of Agriculture and Horticulture: Him Unnati

In a pioneering initiative aimed at revitalizing the agrarian landscape of Himachal Pradesh, the State Government has unveiled various visionary projects that promise to empower farmers and revolutionize the agro-horticulture sector. With its predominantly rural population and a significant proportion engaged in agriculture activities, these endeavors hold the potential to elevate the state’s economy and secure a prosperous future for its people.

Over the years, cash crops, vegetable production, and off-season crops have been encouraged through various small schemes, but till now farmers have not been able to get full benefits. Due to difficult topography and limited landholding, cultivation in Himachal Pradesh becomes quite tough as compared to the neighboring states.

Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said that to overcome this challenge and to ensure integrated development of agriculture in the State, the Government has decided to start an area-based Integrated and Comprehensive Agriculture Development Scheme “Him Unnati”.

 “Him Unnati,” is set to redefine agriculture in the state, said Sh. Sukhu added that this comprehensive development scheme embraces an area-based, cluster-oriented approach, allowing for targeted and integrated agricultural growth. With clusters identified across the entire state, tailored plans will be formulated based on local climate, geography, and soil conditions.

By converging existing schemes of the Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Department and incorporating sub-projects of JICA Phase-II, “Him Unnati” aims to uplift the socio-economic conditions of beneficiary families. The initial phase will witness an allocation of Rs. 150 crores, with provisions for clusters specializing in milk production, pulses, millets, vegetables, fruits, flowers, cash crops, and natural farming.

Total 2600 clusters will be developed in the state under this scheme in the coming five years. This year, the agriculture department has set 51 clusters for the Kharif cropping season and about 286 clusters will be developed during the Rabi season this year. A budget provision of Rs. 25 crore has been made for this year.

In another important step towards realizing the dream of making Himachal a “fruit state”, the state government stepping ahead with the Himachal Pradesh Subtropical Horticulture, Irrigation & Value Addition (HPSHIVA) Project, which aims to harness the bountiful agro-climatic conditions of the state.

Sh. Sukhu said that with an ambitious plan to develop 6,000 hectares of land across 28 Development Blocks in seven districts including Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Kangra, Mandi, Solan, Sirmaur and Una in the low-lying areas of the state with sub-tropical climate. The total cost of this project would be Rs. 1292 crore, of which Rs. 1030 crore will be borne by the Asian Development Bank and Rs. 262 crore by the state government.

By focusing on fruits such as oranges, guavas, pomegranates, and many more, the project adopts a “One Crop One Cluster” approach, allowing private landowners to participate in the venture. Furthermore, a staggering one crore saplings will be planted to enhance fruit production while reducing post-harvest losses through the development of robust value chain infrastructure. About 15,000 agro-horticulture-based families will be benefitted from this project.

Based on the “Beej Se Bazar” concept the farmers will be connected to the market by adding value after harvest along with scientific and commercial agriculture techniques. Keeping in view the requirements of marketing, along with the market demand of 14 identified fruits and crops, various components of their value chain have also been studied.

With a focus on sustainable growth, enhanced productivity, and increased incomes, these initiatives are poised to shine a light on Himachal as a model for agricultural innovation and rural development.


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