Himachal Pradesh to promote traditional organic crops

The Himachal Pradesh government will launch a programme to conserve indigenous seed varieties to promote traditional organic crops, boost nutrition and protect the environment, state Agriculture Minister Virender Kanwar said here on Monday.

The state government will launch Swarn Jayanti Paramparagat Beej Suraksha Samvardhan Yojna with an outlay of Rs 550 lakh in Bilaspur, Chamba, Hamirpur, Kangra, Kullu, Kinnaur, Mandi, Shimla, Solan, Sirmaur, Lahaul-Spiti and Una districts to enhance the nutritional profile of several crops by preserving and reintroducing traditional varieties.

The government will cover 2,100 hectares of additional area under open-pollinated and local varieties of wheat, ginger, turmeric, garlic, vegetables, pulses and potato crops to diversify the cropping pattern and introduce native seed varieties to help farmers get better at traditional and agro-ecological farming practices, said Kanwar.

At present the total seed requirement for major food crops is around 381,790 quintals, while 150,000 quintals, about 39 per cent of the total requirement, is produced in the state, while the rest is procured from the market.

The traditional crops are grown in around 40,000 hectares with the seed requirement of about 17,000 quintals of turmeric, 4,000 quintals of potato, 12,000 quintals of wheat and 800 quintals of other vegetables.

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