General Information:

Agro and Sub Agro-Climatic Zones:

Land Holdings:

Cropping Pattern:

Scope of Farm Mechanization:





(a)  General Information:

Himachal Pradesh is a northern State and situated the southern of the mighty Himalayas. The State is bordered by Jammu & Kashmir on North, Punjab on West and South-West, Haryana on South, Uttar Pradesh on South-East and China on the East. Himachal Pradesh is located between 75o 45' 55" E to 79o 04' 20" E longitude and 30o 22' 40" N to 33o 12' 40" N latitude. The height from the mean sea level varies from 350 to 6975 meters.  Himachal Pradesh has one of the highest per capita incomes of any state in India. Due to the abundance of perennial rivers, Himachal also sells hydro electricity to other states, such as Delhi, Punjab & Rajasthan The economy of the state is highly dependent on three sources: hydroelectric power, tourism and agriculture. Himachal is also said to be the fruit bowl of the country with orchards scattered all over the place. Meadows and pastures are also seen clinging to steep slopes. An area of 2.13 million hectare is covered by forests. For administrative purposes, the state is divided into 52 sub-divisions, 75 blocks, 20118 villages and 57 towns. The population of Himachal Pradesh in 2001 was 6,077,248 comprising of 3,085,256 males and 2,991,992 females. It formed 0.59% of India’s population. Population density in the State was 109/km2.



(b)  Agro and Sub Agro-Climatic Zones:

The State Himachal Pradesh falls under the  High Hill Temperate Sub-zone under the agro-climatic zone- I  i.e. Western Himalayan Region  This sub-zone consists of two distinct regions—the High Hill Temperate and the Hill Temperate. The High Hill Temperate region comprises of only two sparsely populated districts—Lahul and Spiti and Kinnaur in north Himachal Pradesh. The population is largely tribal and the land is mostly fallow. Only seventy per cent of the area is under forest cover and about thirty per cent is cultivated. Compared to the lower and middle hill regions, this region has better irrigation facilities. The pre-dominant source of irrigation is the khul. There is about 800 mm of rains in a year and the soil is mountainous and skeletal. Farming is practiced mostly on steep slopes without much soil conservation measures leading to heavy soil erosion. The Hill Temperate region in this sub-zone covers the better part of the State of Himachal Pradesh-Nearly two thirds of the geographical area falls under this region. It covers the districts of Bilaspur, Chamba, Hamirpur, Kangra, Kullu, Mandi, Shimla, Sirmaur, Solan and Una. About a fifth of the land is cultivated and nearly 31% is under forests. Nearly 40% of the geographical area is available for cultivation. Only about 12% of the net sown area is irrigated. The major source of irrigation is the khul. The climate is humid and sub temperate and the average annual rainfall is 1,300 mm. About three-fourths of the normal precipitation is from the South-west monsoon during June to September. The winter and pre-monsoon showers are also significant with a precipitation of between 150–175 mm in each of these two seasons. The soil is largely brown alluvial.



(c) Climate:

There is great variation in the climatic conditions of Himachal due to extreme variation in elevation. The climate varies from hot and sub-humid tropical in the southern tracts to cold, alpine and glacial in the northern and eastern mountain ranges with higher elevation. The state has areas like Dharamsala that receive very heavy rainfall, as well as those like Lahaul and Spiti that are cold and almost rainless. Broadly Himachal experience three seasons; hot weather season, cold weather season and rainy season. Summer lasts from mid April till the end of June and most parts become very hot (except in alpine zone which experience mild summer) with the average temperature ranging from 28 °C (82 °F) to 32 °C (90 °F). Winter lasts from late November till mid March. Snowfall is common in alpine tracts (generally above 2,200 metres  i.e. in the Higher and Trans-Himalayan region).


(d) Land Holdings:

The total geographical area of Himachal Pradesh is 5.5673 million hectare and the area under forest is 3.70 million hectare. The cultivable area is 620700 hectare and the net area sown is 594094 hectare.  The gross cropped area is 1039552 hectare and the area sown more than once is 4.042 lakh hectare with the cropping intensity of 169%. The net irrigated area is 109452 hectare (By canals- 2.75 %, By wells and tube wells- 18.9% and by others – 78.4%). The gross irrigated area is 181000 hectare and the percentage of net irrigated sown area is 18.4%.   The total number of land holdings are 933383 out of which 636619 (68.2%) are marginal farmers, 175651 (18.8%) small farmers and 121113 (13.0%) farmers hold land above 2 hectare.  



(e) Cropping Pattern:

The major portion of the revenue earning in the state's economy is carried out by the cash crops in the Himachal Pradesh.  The chief food crops cultivated include wheat, maize, rice, barley, seed-potato, ginger, vegetables, vegetable seeds, mushrooms, chicory seeds, hops, olives, and fig. Himachal Pradesh is also known as the 'Apple State of India' for its large-scale production of fruits. Farmers have engaged themselves highly in the fruit cultivation and it is also a great blessing to the economy of the state. The agricultural sector of Himachal Pradesh has adopted a diversification approach that demands for a focus on the production of off-season vegetables that include potato, ginger, soybean, oilseeds, and pulses. At present, about 41,500 hectare area constitutes vegetable production and the production level of those vegetables is 7.85 lakh tonne. The farmers focus more upon generating the cash crops for more revenue earning as it suits the agro-climactic conditions in Himachal Pradesh.  The main cereals cultivated in Himachal Pradesh are wheat, maize, rice, and barley. Kangra, Mandi district and to some extent Paonta valley of Sirmur district are the major producers of wheat, maize, and rice. Barley is cultivated largely in Shimla district. 



(f) Scope of Farm Mechanization:

Himachal Pradesh is a hilly state which provides favourable environment for raising almost all types of agricultural and horticultural crops due to widely varied micro-agro-climatic regions of the state. But the farm mechanization in the state is very poor in terms of mechanical power, efficient implements, land reclamation, water management, renewable energy and post- harvest activities. The mechanization is badly hampered by stepped, small and irregular fields, undulating topography, lack of adequate agricultural engineers and skilled manpower, poor facilities of repair, maintenance and manufacture of implements and high cost solar gadgets. Despite various limitations and constraints, there is a great scope to increase productivity of land and farmers economy by creating small water resources for increasing irrigated areas, land development, use of efficient farm power and implements, harnessing more rainwater, disseminating renewable energy gadgets and introducing small scale agro-based industries employing post harvest engineering principles.