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Welfare project to boost agriculture

Bihar Agriculture University, Sabour, has devised a project to ensure livelihood opportunities for the state’s tribal population, trapped between poverty and Maoist pressure.

The university, 8km east of Bhagalpur and 231km east of Patna, has sent a blueprint for the project worth Rs 7.5 crore to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, for approval. The project seeks to help the tribal population in their livelihood generation through improvised community agriculture measures.

Vice-chancellor M.L. Choudhary said residents of the inaccessible regions of Bhagalpur, Banka, Munger, Jamui, Rohtas, Kaimur, Purnea, Kishanganj and Katihar would be the beneficiaries of the project.

“Most the tribal population in the nine districts live in the Naxalite-affected areas. They have no proper income-generating opportunities. Our scientists and experts would assist them in getting a good yield with limited resources,” Choudhary said.

R.K. Sohane, director, extension education, BAU, Sabour, has been entrusted the responsibility to supervise the project.

He said: “Most of the districts are in Maoist stronghold areas and the tribal population are sandwiched between poverty and Maoist menace.”

The villagers would be trained in modern agriculture techniques for three years to ensure their per capita income increases and they do not migrate for better livelihood.

Scientists and experts from the varsity would train the tribal farmers about apiculture (beekeeping), gardening, mushroom cultivation, animal husbandry, vermi compost along with manufacturing finished items like jam and jelly from their agriculture produce once the Centre gives it nod to the project. “The scientists and agri experts of the varsity would advise the farmers on the crops most suitable for the area,” Sohane told The Telegraph.