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Uttarakhand Needs to Focus on Hill Farming

Dehradun: According to a ASSOCHAM-RNCOS joint study released, Uttarakhand has little agriculture productivity despite the fact that three-fourths of its population is engaged in the agriculture sector, so state needs to promote a separate hill farming policy.

This report is released by ASSOCHAM secretary general DS Rawat in Dehradun. The study says, “The performance of Uttarakhand in agriculture and allied activities has not been up to the mark as its share in the gross state domestic product (GSDP) had declined sharply from over 22 per cent in 2004-05 to just over nine per cent in 2014-15.”

DS Rawat said that, the ASSOCHAM-RNCOS study revealed that the low level of land holdings was a key challenge as over 70 per cent of the state’s farmers held less than one hectare of land.

He said that, the state to record poor crop productivity, the absence of moisture in the sandy soils of Uttarakhand due to its topography. The agriculture sector in the state clocked just about three per cent Compound Annual Growth Rate between 2004-05 and 2014-15.

He said, “Priority must be given to further develop the irrigation infrastructure, including the canal network, and also lift canals, tube wells, pump sets and others in order to promote agriculture.”

This study suggests that, by focusing more on the dairy sector by imparting technical assistance for dairy development, Uttarakhand needs to strengthen the rural economy, more so as milk production in the state grew by just about one percent between 2013-14 and 2014-15.

The report also suggests that, “strengthening dairy farms, genetic upgrade of cattle through induction of genetic variability in female germ plasma and establishment of goat units are some of the key initiatives that can help boost dairy production in the state.”

By offering wide range of incentives and subsidies, the state should promote poultry, fisheries, food processing, horticulture, agro-based, medicinal and aromatic herbs as thrust industries, said DS Rawat while responding to queries.