The agricultural climate of Himachal Pradesh is suitable for production of cash crops. Crop production in several areas of the state have been affected by stray and wild animals. To prevent crop damage the state government was implementing Mukhya Mantri Khet Sanrakshan Yojana (MMKSY). Under the scheme the state government is providing subsidy to agriculturist for setting up solar power fence. A provision of 80 percent subsidy for setting up solar power fence at personal level and 85 percent subsidy at community level is made under the scheme. The fencing is operative with solar power, which helps in keeping away stray animals, wild animals and monkeys. Keeping in view the suggestions and demands, the state government has made a provision of 50 percent subsidy on barbed wires and chain link fencing alongwith 70 percent subsidy on composite fencing.

An increase in beneficiaries of the scheme has been witnessed in few years. The agriculturists state that due to monkey menace and trespassing of wild animals had reduced their interest in farming but Mukhya Mantri Khet Sanrakshan Yojana has proved to be a boon for such farmers of the state.  With the scheme the crops of the farmers were now protected from monkey menace. The provision of barbed fencing alongwith solar fencing has proved beneficial in protecting the crop from wild and stray animals. About Rs. 175.38 crore has been spent under the scheme. With implementation of the scheme about 4669.20 hectare land has been covered and has benefitted 5535 farmers under the scheme. 

To avail the benefit of Mukhya Mantri Khet Sanrakshan Yojana, farmers can apply individually or as a group of farmers to the Deputy Director of Agriculture through the nearest Agriculture Extension Officer, Agriculture Development Officer or Subject Matter Specialist (SMS). Application forms are available in the circle, development block and district level offices of the department. Along with the application they have to attach the revenue documents related to their land. Agriculture plays an important role in the economy of Himachal Pradesh. According to an estimate of the Agriculture Department, about 90 percent people of the state live in rural areas and 70 percent people are directly dependent on agriculture. The contribution of agriculture and allied sectors in the state’s GDP is about 13.62 percent.

There are about 9.97 lakh farmer families in the state and 9.44 lakh hectare land which is being cultivated. The average holding size here is about 0.95 hectares. In the state, 88.86 percent farmers belong to marginal and small section, who have about 55.93 percent of the sown land. About 10.84 percent of the farmers belong to the medium category and only 0.30 percent of the farmers come under the category of large farmers. In such a situation, the farm protection scheme of the state government has proved to be a boon for the marginal, small and middle class farmers. Farmers, who had left farming due to the ravages of destitute and wild animals, have again turned to the fields and this scheme is proving beneficial in this direction.

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