President Kovind launches 3rd phase of Bihar agri road map
Patna, Nov 9 (IANS) President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday launched the much-awaited third phase of Bihar's Agriculture Road Map (2017-22) here.
The third phase involving an amount of Rs 1.54 lakh crore aims to increase the income of farmers and ensure sustainable development of the sector by emphasising on organic farming through development of organic corridors.
Kovind launched the third phase of the Bihar agriculture road map in the presence of Governor Satya Pal Malik and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at Bapu Savagar of Samrat Ashok International Convention Centre here.
"There is a need to work on water management for agriculture growth and high productivity," Kovind said.
He said if improved water management was properly implemented on the ground, the next green revolution would take place in Bihar.
Kovind arrived at Patna airport by a special plane and was received by Satyapal Malik, Nitish Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi.
This is Kovind's first official visit to the state after being elected the President of India in July. He was Bihar Governor until his nomination for the presidential election.
Kovind said he was not born in Bihar but Bihar is his place of work. "I am Bihari not by birth but by work and 'Biharipan' (traits of a Bihari) is my identity."
"The third phase of the Bihar Agriculture Road Map (2017-22)'s main thrust is to increase the income of farmers and promote organic farming on a large scale," Bihar Agriculture Minister Prem Kumar said.
Nitish Kumar in his address said that 76 per cent of Bihar's population was dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. He claimed that Bihar had recorded growth and improvement in the agriculture sector since the first agriculture road map was implemented for 2008-12, followed by the second one for 2012-17.
"Our rice, wheat, maize, potato and vegetables production have remarkably increased."
"Now we are ready to implement the Third Agriculture Road Map for Bihar. A few months ago we invited hundreds of farmers from all the 38 districts of the state to provide them with an opportunity to make suggestions on it.
"We listened to their suggestions carefully and considered their views and suggestions and finalised the road map," he said.
Organic farming is one of the focus areas of the agriculture road map. "We will promote organic farming and help farmers go for it in areas along the river Ganga for protection of the environment."
According to officials of the state Agriculture Department, the Bihar agriculture road map includes programmes by as many as 12 departments, including Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Power.
Among other objectives, the road map focuses on setting up an exclusive 1,500 MW power network for the agriculture sector to reduce farmers' dependence on diesel generator sets for farming. The plan also includes an innovative idea of integrating solar power with fisheries.
The state government is also working on a plan to connect villages with a population of more than 250 people through the road network to provide them access to wholesale markets.
It also targeted raising the irrigation capacity of the state from 82 per cent in 2012 to 159 per cent this year and further to 209 per cent by 2022 broadly through 14.64 lakh private tubewells.