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State sows green revolution seeds

Sights set on inclusive growth, the agriculture sector has always been close to the heart of chief minister Nitish Kumar.

The agriculture budget surged to Rs 2,200 crore from Rs 28 crore in his regime. An agriculture cabinet, including agriculture, horticulture, education, water resources, public health engineering department, industries, science and technology and 11 other departments, has been constituted to ensure rich harvest.

The agriculture roadmap launched by President Pranab Mukherjee aims at food security, nutritional security, increasing farmersí income, creation of employment, equal participation of women in the sector, use and conservation of natural resources and stopping migration of farmers. Under the plan, the focus would be on the production of 23 selected crops.

The state government has introduced modern agricultural methods and hybrid seeds to boost production. Under the Mukhyamantri Teevra Beej Vistar Yojana, certified seeds were provided to a section of farmers with 50 per cent subsidy. As foundation seeds are expensive, they were made to produce certified seeds and distribute them among other tillers in 2008-09. Now, farmers no longer have to be dependent on international companies for certified seeds of chana, wheat, paddy and masoor dal.

Kisan Pathshala, wherein scientists teach new techniques to farmers, has also been started. Bihar became a model for other states. Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh adopted the same.

The introduction of e-Kisan Bhavan in every district is another achievement of the state government. The scheme entails holding meetings to solve tillersí problems.

Mechanisation of agro sector has also been witnessed under the Nitish Kumar-led government. Farmers are made aware of modern machines in mechanisation fairs organised regularly.

The state also promoted organic farming. The slogan pankti mein shakti (strength in rows) was introduced to promote paddy or wheat production in rows because it reduces the use of fertilisers.