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Bihar farm sector beset with falling output

Although production of potato witnessed marginal improvement that of onion and tomato went down in 2015-16. 

patna Updated: Feb 23, 2017 21:29 IST
Subhash Pathak
Bihar has embarked on an ambitious Rs 1.52 lakh crore agriculture roadmap three years back.
Bihar has embarked on an ambitious Rs 1.52 lakh crore agriculture roadmap three years back. (HT file photo)

Adverse climatic conditions coupled with shifting priorities of the government led to decline in production of major crops and vegetables in the agriculture intensive state of Bihar during 2015-16. 

This despite Bihar embarking on an ambitious Rs 1.52 lakh crore agriculture roadmap, three years back.

Farm Woes
  • State received below average rainfall since 2009, barring 2011 that saw rainfall of 1113 mm
  • Rs 1.50 lakh crore roadmap for agriculture converted as sub-mission of Bihar Vikas Mission
  • Net sown area increased to 75.80 lakh hectare in 2013-14 vis-à-vis 72.95 lakh in 2009-10
  • Total cereals production dipped to 2320 kgs/ha in 2015-16 as compared to 2595 in 2013-14
  • Production of mango, guava and litchi also declined marginally in 2015-16 vis-à-vis 2013-14   

The Bihar economic survey 2016-17 says although attempts were made to mechanise farming on a large scale and distribute high-yielding variant of seeds, the results are yet to show up. Initiatives to enhance irrigation network by renovating major reservoir projects, however, will increase yields in a year or two. 

Agricultural experts of the department, however, claimed that production of major cereals and vegetables this year would be ‘very high’ as compared to past years. 

Notwithstanding official claims, the survey report fails to project a cosy picture for the farm sector. Besides dip in production of major fruits like mango, guava, litchi and banana, productivity of major crops like wheat, rice and pulse also witnessed downtrend in 2015-16 as compared to 2013-14. 

Although production of potato witnessed marginal improvement (63.45 lakh tonne in 2015-16 against 60.50 lakh tonne in 2013-14), onion and tomato went down to 12.47 lakh tonne from 13.04 lakh tonne and 10.01 lakh tonne from 10.61 lakh ton in the same corresponding year. 

Net sown area for sugarcane also came down to 3.46% of net cultivable area in 2015-16 as against 3.66% recorded in 2013-14. East and West Champaran lead in terms of cropping area but Nalanda witnessed highest productivity with 98.23 ton per hectare against state average of 68.97 tonnes/hectare.