The strides made by the Bihar agriculture sector with a growth rate of 19.7% last year has impressed the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) no end.
It is so impressed by the performance, that it has decided to discuss the eBihar modelf - from agriculture to employment - countrywide, said DG, ICAR, Dr S Ayyappan, who is also secretary, department of agricultural research and education.
The council is tackling the threat of inland saline soil in Uttar Pradesh, acid soils in Jharkhand and farm mechanisation, at the XXI meeting of ICAR regional committee No IV (comprising Bihar, UP and Jharkhand) that got underway at A N Sinha Institute of Social Studies here on Friday.
Ayappan said, the meet would discuss the challenges faced by the farm sector, from 0.5 degree rise in temperature that affects crop output, to dry land and tribal farming, posting veterinarians in Krishi Vikas Kendras, setting up the Borlaug Institute of Rice in Pusa and Institute of Biotechnology in Ranchi for the development of resilient seed varieties.
Dr Ayyappan confessed, that he was highly impressed by record-breaking yields of rice, potato and banana in Bihar, noting, "We can take a few lessons from Bihar in A to Z of farming". Dr Ayyappan also praised the output of mustard, maize and oil seeds, while complimenting Bihar on its seed replacement programme. But he said, he wanted would like to see an increase in sugarcane productivity for which there is great potential.
The meet would also assess and analyse implementation of programmes in the last two years, which would then be incorporated in the 12th five-year plan, he added.
He was glad the rainfall deficit has declined to a mere 5% raising hopes of bumper crop yields of kharif rice, maize and pulses. "The prospect for rabi crop is very bright," he added.
Dr Ayyappan said, ICAR was looking into breed improvement of nearly 200 million cattle in the state and also whether a hortipasture model could be developed, what with Biharfs reputation of being home to delicious mangos and litchis.
Development and marketing of cost-effective fodder was another area, which ICAR would look into, he added. He opined, "Bihar has the capability to register 30% growth in fish production".
Dr S K Datta, DDG, ICAR and nodal officer in-charge of regional committee No IV, said if ICAR, state agricultural universities and state governments work together, they could well face the challenges of the agri-sector.
He advised stakeholders to take advantage of global partnerships for long-term solution of farmersf problems.
Dr Mangala Rai, agricultural adviser to Bihar chief minister, stressed on technological interventions to fight water contamination, while also emphasising inclusive growth.
Earlier, Dr B P Bhatt, director, ICAR-Research Centre for Eastern Region, Patna, welcomed the delegates.