Tomato, potato, ginger and pea crops will be covered under a weather-based insurance scheme for the Kharif season in Himachal Pradesh, reported The Tribune. The decision is part of the Virbhadra Singh government's experiment to protect farmers from losses in case of heavy rain, hailstorms and drought.

Dr SR Kalia, director of agriculture for the state, said the insurance will cover Rs 1 lakh per hectare for tomatoes, Rs 75,000 for potatoes, Rs 1.25 lakh for ginger and Rs 1 lakh for peas. Farmers who have taken loans for their agricultural needs will have to buy the insurance plan, but it is optional for those who have not taken financial aid from the government. Tomatoes and potatoes are harvested between August 1 and October 15.

The premuim for tomatoes will be between 6% (Bilaspur) and 18% (Kullu), varying from district to district. For potatoes, it has been fixed between 4.11% (Lahaul and Spiti) and 13.45% (Kinnaur). The rate for ginger will be 7% in Sirmaur, and 9% in Solan and Bilaspur district. In the case of peas, while farmers in Kinnaur will have to pay 1.25% of the premium, the highest rate will be paid by those in Kullu, 8%.

The central and state government will pitch in equally to cover the remainder of the insurance premium. The last date to apply for the insurance cover is July 31 for tomatoes, May 31 for potatoes, June 30 for ginger and May 14 for peas.