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Cool Bihari: Agricultural Innovation in Rural Bihar

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Agricultural Innovation in Rural Bihar

Bihar has seen significant growth in the area of infrastructure and related dimensions of economic development in the last few years. Bihar has around 60% of its workforce sustaining livelihood through agricultural sector and 42% of the State Domestic Product comes from agricultue. It clearly indicates that without agricultural development, growth will remain on periphery and majority of the rural and semi rural areas will be marginalized. 

Bihar has a total geographical area of about 93.60 lakh hectare, out of which only 56.03 lakh hectare is the net cultivated area and gross cultivated area being 79.46 lakh hectare. About 33.51 lakh hectare net area and 43.86 lakh hectare gross area receive irrigation from different sources. Principal food crops are paddy, wheat, maize and pulses. Main cash crops are sugarcane, potato, tobacco, oilseeds, onion, chillies and jute and. Bihar has notified forest area of 6,764.14 sq km, which is 7.1 per cent of its geographical area.

In recent times, we are seeing significant innovation in the way agricultural sector has been reaping the benefits of modern and scientific agri farming models. There has been series of success stories of farming winning recognition for their innovative agri business approach. 

The prestigious Jagjivan Ram Kisan Purushkar was awarded to a Bihari Farmer, Sudhanshu Kumar of Nayanagar, a remote village in Samastipur district. Sudhanshu, a Delhi University alumnus has been a harbinger of change in Samastipur district by promoting many innovative tools and skills of modern farming. He successfully raised the productivity of his Mango orchard from mere ten thousand to nine lacs in a period of three to four years and similarly experimented the innovative modern techniques to his litchi orchard.

Ramashaker vaidh, came to Rampur chai village in Arwal district around 30 years back. What was then an infertile stretch of land has now become a blooming garden due to his ardent belief and sustained effort.He has almost every fruits in his huge garden spread over 50 acres. The key differentiator about his farming technique is the organic method, which he believes is sustainable and healthier. He spread his wisdom by helping other farmers in adopting organic & modern methods of farming.

Kedar Nath Jha’s journey has also been equally interesting . A pioneer in Makhana cultivation, Kedar Nath Jha of Ujjan village of Manigachhi (Madhubani district) raises this crop in about 70 ponds taken on lease from others. He grows and markets the crop himself. “Cultivation was uneconomical earlier due to the low price paid by traders in this remote rural area with poor communication and market information facilities.

Entrepreneur Satyajeet Kumar Singh who has established a modern makhana processing plant at Patna by investing of Rs.70 crore and has also established linkages with farmers spread over in eight districts. His network currently covers more than four thousand farmers and his Sudha Shakti Industry and Centres of khet se bazaar tak (from field to the market) network for increasing production and organizing marketing is paying dividends to a large number of farmers.If farmers in Bihar properly exploit this crop, they will have the potential to produce makhana worth more than Rs. 400-500 crores.

These success stories really augurs well for the state’s agricultural growth and sustained growth as agricultural growth lays the foundation of a more self sustaining and covers majority of the marginal farmers in the state.

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