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Tomato changes the fate of Himachal farmers in Solar, Sirmaur and Kullu

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Tomato emerges as one of the major off-season cash crops in the lower and middle hills of Himachal Pradesh. Solan, Sirmaur and Kullu districts harvest 86 percent of the state’s total output.



Off-season tomato production peaks during the monsoons in the hills when the crop is not harvested in the plains of northern India.

The state produces 320,700 tons of tomatoes annually and wants to increase production by 498,000 tons.

minister of agriculture Virender Kanwar told IANS for some farmers that off-season tomato cultivation is the main source of income.

About 46 percent of the state’s total plantation is in the Solan district, and more than 90 percent of the produce goes to markets in neighboring states, mainly Delhi.

The other tomato production belts are Sirmaur (30 percent) and Kullu (10 percent), while the rest are in Shimla, Mandic and Bilaspur districts.

Most farmers prefer to sell their produce through local agricultural produce market committees, while some send AAAAA directly to other states’ Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs).

A group of farmers from Salogra has a market link with online stores such as BigBasket. A sells the tomato products via e-marketplace.

At present, 22,753 farmers, many of them with small landholdings, are engaged in tomato cultivation with an annual turnover of Rs 203 crore.

Polyhouses are also used to produce vegetables out of season, Kanwar said.

CSK Himachal Pradesh Agricultural University in Palampur has developed disease resistant high yielding tomato varieties. They are Palam Pink, Palam Pride, Him Pragati, Him Palam, Cherry Yellow and Palam Tomato Hybrid 1.

To promote cultivation, the university organizes regular capacity building programs that benefit more than 25,000 farmers.

The minister said the government is also expanding irrigation facilities and promoting rainwater harvesting.

For systematic diversification of crops, the Ministry of Agriculture has prepared a plan for the introduction of high-yielding hybrids of vegetables, popularization of a micro-irrigation system and protected cultivation. To improve quality, organic and natural farming is also being promoted statewide.

Under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, a 50 percent grant is being provided to farmers for diversification from cereal crops to vegetables, also promoting tomato cultivation, Kanwar added.

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