Agriculture of Himachal Pradesh

Agriculture of Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh is predominately an agricultural State where Agriculture provides direct employment to about 71 percent of the total population. The department of agriculture is committed to assisting the plantation community by executing various developmental programs and advertising the important technology to enhance fertility, production, and profitability of field crops.

The majority of the population depends on farming, animal husbandry, gardening (which varies according to the season), and forestry for their livelihood. The department of Agriculture was established in the year 1948. Agriculture Department was merged with the Forest Department in 1950, but in 1952, the Agriculture Department started working independently. In 1970, Floriculture was also cut out of the department of agriculture and a separate department of floriculture was established.

In Mandi and Kangra, ensemble programs were engaged in collaboration with West Germany for familiarising modern methods of farming among the farmers. Suitable agriculture tools and animal husbandry were introduced in these areas. Completely equipped soil testing laboratories, dairy farms and farming seminars were set up at several cities, besides an Agriculture University at Palampur

The agriculture research was also taken out from the Agriculture Department and was assigned to Agriculture Complex now Agriculture University, Palampur. The Department of Agriculture is therefore now concentrating on agriculture production and soil water conservation.

Main crops that are cultivated in Himachal Pradesh:

The major portion of the revenue earning in the state’s economy is carried out by the cash crop in Himachal Pradesh. The foremost food crop cultivated include “wheat, rice, maize, barley, ginger, seed-potato, vegetables, mushrooms hops, olives, fig, hops, and chicory seeds”. Himachal Pradesh is also known as the “Apple State” of India for its large-scale production of fruits and it is also a great benediction to the economy of the state. Nowadays Himachal Pradesh’s agriculture sector has adopted a diversification method that focuses on the production of off-season vegetables that are potato, soybean, ginger, oilseed, and pulses.

Agro-Climatic Zone:

The agriculture department of Himachal Pradesh has divided the farming zone into 4 parts based on climatic zone.

Sub-Tropical Sub Mountain Low-Hills Zone:

  • This zone comprises of low hills and valley areas up to an elevation of 914 meters above sea level
  • It is potentially suitable for growing all the vegetables recommended for the adjoining plains with minor adjustments in their time of planting
  • Tomato, Brinjal, Cucumber, Capsicum, Chillies, French beans, Cauliflower, and Peas can be a paying proposition
  • The seed production of Asiatic radish (Japanese white and Chinese Pink), Turnip (Purple top white Globe) and disease-free Okra has also been commercially exploited

Sub-Temperate Sub-Humid Mid-Hills Zone:

  • The sub-temperature zone comprises of hills with elevation ranging from 915 to 1532 meters above sea level and characterized by moderate to heavy monsoon rains.
  • The cultivation of cash crops like Ginger and off-season vegetables namely Tomato, French beans, Capsicum, Cucumber, Peas, has been taken up on the commercial scale in the selected areas
  • Among the seed crops Cauliflowers, seed production (late group) has come into the limelight in certain areas around Solan
  • The seed production of other vegetables like Turnip, Radish, Capsicum, and Garden beet has also good potential where transport facilities for fresh vegetables are inadequate
Zone Commercial Vegetables Crops Seed Crops
I. Sub–tropical sub – mountain and low hills (356-914m and 90-100cm. Rainfall) Brinjal, Cucumber, Okra, Peas, Cauliflower, Potato Asiatic, Radish, Okra, Onion, cauliflower
II. Sub – temperature sub-humid (914-1523 m 90-100cm. Rainfall) Tomato, French beans, Capsicum, Cucumber, Peas, Ginger, Potato Cauliflower (late group), Bell paper, Turnip, Capsicum, French beans, table beet, Potato
III. Sub – temperature high hills (1524-2472m 90-100cm. Rainfall) Peas, French beans, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Radish, Turnip, Carrot, Beet, Potato Potato
IV. Dry – temperature high – hills sub – temperature high hills (1524-2472m 90-100cm. Rainfall) Peas, Cole crops, Turnip, Onion Cabbage, Beet, Potato, Peas, Chicory and temperature varieties of Radish and Turnip





Wet-temperature High-hills Zone:

  • This high hills wet zone extends to areas with elevations ranging between 1524 to 2472 meters above means sea level
  • The climate is temperature with moderate to heavy monsoon rains of about 100-200 cm
  • The show is a usual feature during winters and the temperatures are generally very low, thus preventing crop growth from November to March
  • The important vegetables grown are Peas, French beans, cauliflowers, cabbage, Radish, Turnip, Carrot, Beet, and Leafy vegetables during months for supply to the plains
  • Seed crops like Turnip, Beet, Radish, Cabbage, maybe grown but rains may somehow affect the seed quality during maturity periods of the seed-crops

Dry-temperature High-Hills Cold Deserts Zone:

  • High altitude dry zone in the northwest comprises of Lahaul-Spiti, Kinnaur, and Bharmaur area of Chamba district
  • This zone is characterized by low rainfall (25-40 cm) during summer months and heavy snowfall during winters (3-5 m)
  • The cold dry temperature areas extend beyond 2472 meters above sea level and
  • Cultivation is being carried out only in the summer season under irrigated conditions
  • This area is ideally suitable for the production of quality seed of temperature vegetables and off-season vegetables like Cabbage, cauliflower, Knol-knol, Peas, Onion, and Root vegetables

 Sowing Time of Vegetables in Different Agro-Climatic Zone:

        As it is clear from the above stated climatic details that the climate of the state is diverse and is thus suitable for growing a wide variety of vegetable crops. In Himachal Pradesh itself, the sowing time of the same vegetable is the different agro-climatic zone. That’s why it is necessary to briefly focus on the sowing timing of the vegetables in Himachal Pradesh, as a critical determinant of vegetable farming.

The following table will help to better understand: (Sowing Time of Different Vegetable Crops in Different Climatic Zones)

Name of Vegetables Zone I Low Hills Zone II Mid Hills Zone III & IV High Hills
Tomato March to May Feb., March to June April
Capsicum Nov., Feb., and March March to May
Eggplant/Brinjal Oct., March, May to June March to May
Ladyfinger Feb. to March and June March to June April to May
French Beans Feb. to March and Aug. March to July April to June
Cucumber Feb. to March and June March to May
Bitter gourd Feb. to March and June March to May April
Peas Aug. to Nov. Sept. to Nov. Oct. to Nov. & March to April
Cauliflower June to Nov. July to Sept. April to May
Cabbage Aug. to Oct. Sept. to Oct. April to June
Turnip Sept. to Oct. July to Aug.
Radish Aug. to Oct. July to Oct. March to Aug.
Carrot Aug. to Sept. July to Sept. March to July
Spinach July to Nov. & Feb. to March July to Sept. March to June & Sept.

Sowing Time of Vegetables in Low Hills Zone:

  • In low hills zone, the vegetables are sown all over the year
  • In the period from January to April vegetables namely tomato, capsicum, eggplant, ladyfinger, French beans, cucumber, bitter gourd, and spinach are sown
  • In the months of May to August tomato, eggplant, ladyfinger, French beans, cucumber, bitter gourd, peas, cauliflower, radish, carrot, and spinach are sown
  • In the month of September to December tomato, capsicum, eggplant, peas, cauliflower, radish, carrot, and spinach are sown

Sowing Time of Vegetables in Mid Hills Zone:

  • Like low hills zone, in the mid-hills zone vegetables are also sown throughout the year
  • In the months of January to April tomato, capsicum, brinjal, ladyfinger, French beans, cucumber, spinach, and bitter gourd are sown
  • In the months of May to August tomato, capsicum, brinjal, ladyfinger,  French beans, cucumber, spinach, bitter gourd, cauliflower, turnip, radish, and carrot are sown
  • In the months of September to December peas, cauliflower, turnip, radish, carrot, and spinach are sown

Sowing Time of Vegetables in High Hills Zone:

  • In this zone, the production season is of six to nine months due to low temperature and snowfall
  • In the month of January to April tomato, ladyfinger, bitter gourd, radish, carrot, peas, and spinach are sown
  • In the months of May to August ladyfinger, French beans, cauliflower, radish, and turnip are sown
  • In the months of September to December, only peas and spinach are sown

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