Shimla, July 26 (IANS) The Himachal Pradesh government is promoting the cultivation of medicinal plants like pine nut and sea buckthorn so as to provide both livelihood to farmers/growers and increase the state's green cover, officials said on Sunday.
While pine nut (chilgoza) is grown to Kinnaur district, farming of sea buckthorn is done in Spiti, state's cold desert.
The Forest Department has spent Rs 800 crore under the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)-aided Himachal Pradesh Forest Ecosystem Management and Livelihood Improvement Project.
The main objective of the 10-year project is to improve the forest cover, biodiversity conservation and to improve the economy of rural people by strengthening institutional capacity.
The project is being implemented in 16 forest circles spread over Kinnaur, Shimla, Bilaspur, Mandi, Kullu and Lahaul-Spiti districts.
For this fiscal, Rs 41.78 crore has been allocated. A target of planting more than one crore saplings on 12,000 hectares of forest land has been fixed.
For the project, 1.35 crore saplings would be prepared in nurseries across the state.
As many as 81 rural forest committees have been formed to ensure participation of area people.
For planting 35,000 saplings of pine nut and sea buckthorn, Rs 10 lakh each will be provided to the Divisional Forest Officers concerned.
The plantation would be done to make the degraded forest areas dense, improve grazing land, soil and water conservation, forest fire prevention, weed destruction, experimental project on biodiversity corridor, basic studies on biodiversity enumeration, community-based livelihood improvement activities. Besidesm, livelihood improvement activities based on medicinal plants will be started.
A micro plan has been prepared for each ward of the district involved in the project.
As many as 40 micro schemes will be implemented this year. Under these schemes, 10 youths would be provided employment in each ward.
For the implementation of micro schemes prepared by Rural Forest Committees, saplings would be planted in 759 hectares.
Sixteen task forces have been constituted to tackle issues related to human-wildlife conflict.
Satellites and drones have been pressed to do a census of biodiversity.
A Him Herbs Committee would be constituted and linked with the Van Samridhi Jan Samridhi Yojana to ensure employment to people as well as to conserve forest wealth. The state proposed to constitute 11 Him Herbs Cooperative Societies.
Along with tagging the geographical indicators (GI) of the medicinal plants, special managers will be appointed for processing and marketing them.