With good August rain, Bihar expects bumper paddy, maize output
Last year, the rain clouds left Bihar dry. This time, the monsoon mood is favorable for the state. So, the government expects bumper production of paddy and maize. Farmers were a bit uncomfortable last month, due to deficit rainfall. However, August has been favorable, making up these losses.
“Last year was very difficult for us, but that is past. We are hoping for a good crop this year,” said Ashok Kumar Sinha, agriculture production commissioner. “If everything goes as expected, in this season we will be producing seven million tonnes of paddy and almost a million tonnes of maize. We are expecting a good output of pulses, too.”
The agriculture department expects paddy sowing to be on 3.5 million hectares, a million ha more than last year. About two-thirds of the year’s targeted acreage has been achieved. The government is aiming for a more than two-fold rise in paddy output, from last year’s 3.2 mt. The department also expects a rise in the average yield.
Sinha said, “In the past few years, we have done extensive work in seed development, farming practices and mechanisation. Besides, our farmers have a better reach to quality seeds. We are implementing the System of Root Intensification on 300,000 ha and using hybrid paddy seeds on almost 450,000 ha. These steps will boost paddy production.”
However, last month was uncomfortable, with 24 per cent deficit in rainfall. The southern parts were badly affected. Six districts were on the threshold of being declared drought-affected. However, there was 24 per cent over the normal rainfall in the first 10 days of this month. Sinha said, “Last month was tough for farmers in south Bihar. We are planning to distribute, free, seeds of maize and pulses in the badly affected areas, so that their livelihood can be protected.”
The department is also expecting an increase in the output of maize and pulses. The targeted maize acreage is 375,000 ha and 300,000 ha has been achieved. Production is expected to be a million tonnes, against 700,000 tonnes last year. As for pulses, sowing is expected on 125,000 ha; it has taken place on 62,000 ha. The department expects production of 160,000 tonnes.