WASHINGTON, MAY 27, 2016 – The World Bank Board today approved a US$ 135 million credit to support the efforts of the Government of Himachal Pradesh in modernizing and expanding the production of high value horticulture commodities.
The Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Development Project will support small farmers and agro entrepreneurs in Himachal Pradesh, to increase the productivity, quality, and their market access to selected high value horticulture commodities. Over 150,000 producers, mainly small and marginal farmers of the state will benefit from the project of which about 33 percent are expected to be women.
Given the agro climatic conditions, ability to produce for ‘off-season’ markets, and proximity to consumer markets gives Himachal an edge in producing high value horticulture commodities. Today, 44 percent of the cropped area in the state is dominated by high value horticulture commodities.
However, despite the significant potential of horticulture production in Himachal Pradesh, the state faces a number of challenges which includes limited access to appropriate production technology; an entirely rainfall dependent system; high post-harvest losses, exacerbated by weak storage and marketing capabilities; weak institutional capacity for agro processing among small and medium enterprises; and lack of access to medium and long-term financial capital among others.
“While the efforts of the Government of Himachal Pradesh has helped the state become one of the leading producers of fruits and off-season vegetables in the country, this project will reach out to small and marginal farmers, including women. The project will support them in acquiring the necessary technical knowledge to take full advantage of the opportunities in the horticulture sector,” said Onno Ruhl, World Bank Country Director in India.
Recognizing the need for a long-term development of the horticulture sector, the Government of Himachal, through this project, plans to invest in modernizing the horticulture sector with climate resilient technology, strengthen the productive capacities of producers and their organizations, facilitate access to markets and use of financial services – in particular credit and insurance.
“Addressing the current constraints will require a predictable and supportive policy environment for private sector development, better access to product and input markets, and improved access to extension and financial services for the farmers. We hope this project will help set the stage for the state to tap its full potential in the area of horticulture,” said Manivannan Pathy, Senior Agricultural Specialist and World Bank’s Task Team Leader for the project.
The credit is from the International Development Association (IDA) – the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm with a maturity of 25 years, including a 5 year grace period.