Bihar: Over 100k farmers acquainted with climate-resilient agri methods

Apr 29, 2022 02:02 PM IST

Bihar faces regular droughts and floods which prompted the government to take steps to save agriculture and agriculturists from the growing climate-related vulnerabilities

PATNA: Over 100,000 farmers have been acquainted with climate-resilient agricultural methods in Bihar since a pilot project was launched for the purpose in 2019 across 40 villages in eight districts. The project was extended to 190 villages across 38 districts in 2020.


Agriculture department officials said the project has shown positive results and may shape the way farming is done in the face of climate challenges to boost not just agricultural production, but also farmer income.

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Bihar faces regular droughts and floods which prompted the government to take steps to save agriculture and agriculturists from the growing climate-related vulnerabilities.

“Climate change is threatening agriculture, making farmers vulnerable. It poses a challenge to policymakers. As per several studies, the yield of major cereals like wheat and rice is expected to decline from 10 to 40% by 2050. Managing adverse effects of climate change thus assumes importance for the farmers’ livelihoods and to ensure food security for all. This is particularly challenging for small and marginal farmers who constitute over 90% farming population of Bihar,” said principal secretary (agriculture) N Sarvana Kumar.

He said Borlaug Institute for South Asia (BISA) in Samastipur’s Pusa has been engaged in research on climate-resilient agricultural technologies. “During his visit to the institute a few years ago, chief minister Nitish Kumar appreciated the initiatives started at BISA farm and asked the agriculture department and all agriculture research institutions to prepare a work plan to replicate the technology across the state. Thus, the concept of CRA [climate resilient agriculture] was born.”

The scientists are transferring techniques developed at the BISA farm to the farmers. They include cultivation of crops without conventional tillage, in situ crop residue management, and growing three crops annually with productivity up to 150 quintals per hectare annually. Fourteen cropping systems have been identified for demonstration.

Kumar said the state’s government is fully funding CRA and sanctioned 299.13 crore for it for five years. He added that CRA has led to a significant rise in farmers’ income with the reduction in the cost of cultivation and an increase in productivity. “Results showed that the cropping system productivity ranges from 97.31 to 137.62 q/ha, whereas the average cropping system productivity is only about 55 quintals per hectares.”

Kumar said the state government is mobilising farmers to demonstrate climate-resilient technologies.

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    Arun Kumar is Senior Assistant Editor with Hindustan Times. He has spent two-and-half decades covering Bihar, including politics, educational and social issues.

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