• 39000 trees planted by HARP over 400 acres under NABARD funded project
Planting material of fruit trees, especially apple, prepared by the Solan-based Dr.YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF) is always in high demand among the farmers of the state and have helped to increase the state’seconomy. So when it came to the improving the livelihood of farmers through raising apple orchards, Shimla based Hill Agriculture and Rural Development Promotion Society (HARP) decided to procure plants from the University.
In the past three years, the university has supplied over 39,000 plants, the majority of which are apple, to HARP for planting in economically backward areas of Kinnaur district. The main objective of the project is to improve the livelihood of farmers and double their income by 2022.
“This Tribal Development Project being implemented by HARP is funded by NABARD. Through this seven-year project worth around Rs 9.43 crore (after adding personal contributions and convergence of other schemes), we aim to the increase the livelihood of 643 farmers of Rupi, Chhota Kamba and Nathpa gram panchayats in the Nichar block of Kinnaur district,”said Dr. RS Ratan, Founder President of HARP.
In addition, the scientists of the UHF’s Regional Horticulture and Training Station located at Sharbo have also been acting as resource persons for various skill development programmes of the Society and providing institutional training to the farmers on pruning of trees.
The main component of this livelihood project is the establishment of apple, walnut, chuli (wild apricot) and pear orchards in around 400 acres of the selected region. “Apple will be planted in the main area, while chuli, walnut and pear orchards will be established in Rupi, Chota Khamba and Nathpa respectively. The chosen area was an economically backward region with limited livelihood avenues. By putting a large area under apple cultivation, which is a cash crop in the temperate wet climate, we can hope to substantially improve the economy,” said Dr. Rattan.
Vice Chancellor of UHF, Dr. HC Sharmasaid, “The University has always been at the forefront of activities for the benefit of farmers. We have been providing nursery plants to HARP for the past three years. This year, we have provided 6158 apple plants of high yielding spur and royal varieties along with 150 walnut plants to them.”
He added that every year, the university provides quality planting material of various high yielding varieties of apple, kiwi, pomegranate, apricot, peach, nectarine, cherry, walnut, pecan nut, persimmon, pear, plum and almond to the farmers at the University campus and through its Research Stations and Krishi Vigyan Kendras.