Jesuit institute helps Bihar farmers confront administration

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Published on: 4:35 pm, March 17, 2016 Story By: Matters India Reporter

Patna: Bihar with its good soil and water resources could usher in the second Green Revolution if proper steps are taken, says agronomist Jadgish Prasad, director of International School of Management, Patna.

However, the agricultural output in the eastern Indian state has been declining over the years, leading to a situation where more people have to be fed with less amount of food grains. Bihar economy is hugely agriculture-dependent and neglecting the farm sector will impede development, warns the former Professor of A. N. Sinha Institute of Social Studies.

Prasad was speaking at a one-day seminar for cultivators at Amhara village in Bihta. Patna-based Jesuit-managed Xavier Institute of Social Research (XISR) organized the program that addressed the theme, “Agriculture and Development in Bihar: Prospects, Issues and Challenges.

More than 100 men and women cultivators from villages in Bihta participated in the seminar which was addressed by specialists on agriculture, representative of the Department of Agriculture, Government of Bihar, representatives of financial institutions such as NABARD (National Agricultural Bank for Rural Development) and representative of India’s largest bank, the State Bank of India (SBI).

XISR director Jose Kalapura said his institute organized the seminar to create a forum to help cultivators discuss the administration and financial institutions various prospects, issues and challenges they face. “I am very happy that the interaction was turned out to be very enriching for the farmers,” he added.

Bihar farmers meet

Bihar farmers meet

In an interactive session a panel of experts and representatives of NABARD and SBI, listened to the cultivators’ grievances and tried to answer their queries.

Anand Kumar, the local village head, regretted that many government schemes remained in paper and cultivators are frustrated trying to get their basic sanctioned allotments or subsidies.

Elderly cultivator Radhe Shyam Guruji complained that although farmers in Bihar are disappointed, they have not committed as done by their counterparts in other states.

Earlier, Anil Jha of the Agriculture Department explained to the people about the new Agriculture Road Map launched by the state government in 2012. “We need not depend on foreign seeds but can develop our own seeds even in villages,” he said.

Agriculture specialists from NABARD Mithilesh Kumar and M. Ashraf apprised the people on the various schemes and projects their board has launched in Bihar, particularly in sugar cultivation.

Kumar said his board has approved the launch of 120 companies for cultivators in Bihar touching various aspects of agriculture such as animal husbandry, fishery, horticulture, mushroom cultivation. NABARD aims at increasing the income of cultivators through multiple engagements, he added.

Krishna Kumar Singh, member of Bihar State Legislative Council, told the meet that development of agriculture in Bihar cannot be done by merely imitating western countries, but by modernization of tradition-bound and context-specific techniques.

Cultivable land in Bihar is under small holdings that prevents the use of heavy equipments meant for large plots, he noted.

Agronomist and former professor of Indian Council of Agriculture R. D. Singh pointed that although Bihar has introduced various techniques of agriculture production, experimentation on varieties of fruits, vegetables, pulses, grams, the government has failed to ensure adequate irrigation facilities.

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