New Delhi: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India on 30th December 2020 signed a $10 million project readiness financing (PRF) to help finance piloting activities, and design and capacity building for an ensuing project that aims to expand horticulture production and farm household income in the hill state of Himachal Pradesh, according to a press statement from the Ministry of Finance issued on 1st January 2021.
The signatories to the PRF for the Himachal Subtropical Horticulture, Irrigation, and Value Addition Readiness Project were C. S. Mohapatra, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance who signed for the Government of India, and Hoe Yun Jeong, Officer-in-Charge of ADB’s India Resident Mission, who signed for ADB.
After signing the loan agreement, Addl. Secretary Mohapatra stated that the PRF project will support advance actions to achieve high level of project readiness through detailed design activities, capacity building of state level agencies, and creating an enabling environment for subtropical horticulture development in the state.
“The PRF project aims to ensure implementation readiness with prior testing of new production technologies and marketing systems so that the ensuing project is cost-effective and gets completed in a timely manner to enhance farm profitability,” ADB’s Jeong said.
The ensuing project, to be designed by the PRF, will support the development of subtropical horticulture, including cultivation of fruits and vegetables, in the state’s southern region which is currently lagging due to limited access to perennial water sources, crops losses due to wild animal encroachment, and limited access to high-value markets, as per the Finance Ministry.
The pilot activities supported by the PRF project include establishment or rehabilitation of 16 irrigation schemes for water extraction, distribution, and storage; developing 17 subtropical horticulture plots for ultra-high density production of selected fruits; fencing horticulture plots to protect crops from animal predation; and forming community horticulture production and marketing associations to build their capacities for business and marketing.
The Finance Ministry stated that these pilot activities will then be scaled up under the ensuing project to be implemented in 7 districts of Himachal Pradesh. The PRF also supports the establishment of a water user association (WUAs) on completed irrigation schemes and enhancing women’s participation.
The Ministry stated that ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members, 49 of whom are from the region.
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