Agriculture occupies the most prominent position in Himachal Pradesh, as it is the mainstay of more than 69 per cent of the state’s population. Since the state is exposed to constraints such as shrinking land holdings coupled with perceptible changes in weather and climate, protected cultivation has emerged as the best alternative for using land and other resources efficiently. The main aim of this technology is to enhance the socio-economic conditions of the farmers. Therefore, the present study was conducted to analyse the cropping pattern, production and productivity of major crops being cultivated under protected conditions and to study its impact in crop productivity, employment and income (farm income and total household income) generation and income variability. In order to have a better insight, the factors under consideration were compared to the open-field conditions. The study is based on primary data collected through survey method for the agricultural year 2015-16. The data had been collected from 60 tomato (30 open-field and 30 polyhouse) growers, selected through proportional allocation method from Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh. The study revealed that protected cultivation had a significant impact in enhancing the crop productivity and was approximately three times higher in comparison to the open-field conditions. The labour utilization pattern on protected cultivation was found to be almost four times higher than that of the open- field cultivation indicating a significant contribution in enhancing the employment opportunities. The average farm and household income of the protected growers was observed to be increased by about 25 and 11 per cent, respectively with the adoption of protected technology in the study area. The income variability of the protected growers was also found to be less in comparison to the open-field growers indicating lesser risk and higher stability of income generated by the protected growers in the study area. Therefore, it can be concluded that protected cultivation has a significantly positive impact in improving the socio-economic conditions of the farmers in the study area and suits well to the agro-climatic conditions prevailing in the hilly areas like Himachal Pradesh. Highlights
Protected cultivation had a significant impact in enhancing the crop productivity, employment and income generation. Protected cultivation attains more stable income than open- field cultivation.