Challenges to Agriculture in Bihar

Bihar is considered destination for second Green Revolution in the country. Several reports including the National Farmers Commission have emphasized the need for accelerated development of agriculture in eastern India for securing food security of the country. Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, the then President of India has described Agriculture as Core Competence of Bihar.

  • In Bihar agriculture and allied sector contributes 18.9 percent of the GSDP.
  • Farm holdings are small and scattered. There are about 1.61 crore farm holdings of
    which 91 percent is marginal.
  • The water area of Bihar constitutes about 3.9 percent of the total geographical area.
  • Bihar is a major fruit and vegetable growing state.

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Major Challenges:

State agriculture faces multifaceted challenges that emanate both
from within the system and also from outside. Low productivity across all the enterprises, crop, horticulture, milk, meat, egg and fishes has traditionally described the state agriculture. The low productivity has consequential effects on low income and high poverty of its population.

The major factors contributing to low productivity is described as below:

Technological factors: There are two agricultural universities, five agricultural colleges,one horticulture college,one agriculture engineering college,one dairy technology college and one veterinary college in the state. All the 38 distrcts have a
functional Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK).ICAR has also a presence with eastern states regional headquarter at Patna. Besides, National Research Centre for Litchi and Makhana are established in state. However,State productivity remains low because of
the slow adoption of modern technologies by the farmers. Dominance of cereals in cropping pattern reflect on the subsistence nature of state agriculture. Institutional extension system faces the challenge to take latest technologies to farmers field.

Land Issues: More than 91 percent of all holdings fall in the category of marginal holdings with farm size less than 1 hectare. Each such holding is again fragmented in small parcels. Land records are obsolete, making any institutional investment virtually
impossible. Small farm agriculture create serious problems for economy of scale.

Rainfed agriculture: State agriculture still heavily depends on monsoon. In the last 5 years, there has been drought or drought like situation in four consecutive years. Kharif crops are almost a gamble leaving little prospect for investments in costly inputs. Canal Irrigation is scanty. Irrigation is majorly(70%) dependent on diesel based tube wells. High cost of diesel based irrigation make it a very difficult input for
even rabi crops.

Lack of Infrastructure: Road connectivity, storage godown and power availability to agriculture sector is inadequate to usher accelerated agriculture development in the state.

Lack of institutional credit: slow pace of implementation of kisan credit card leave large number of farmers dependant on high cost non institutional lending sources seriously impeding use of modern agri inputs and adoption of modern technology.

Flood & Drought: State agriculture is dependent on Monsoon.A heavy rainfall lead to flood and a deficient rainfall could lead to drought.The paradox of flood and drought occur simultaneously almost every year making agriculture highly vulnerable and unstable.

source: NITI Aayog Report

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