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Farm tech reward and revival
Record wheat honour for state on Delhi dais

Patna, Feb. 9: Farmers Kalpana Prakash and Zahid Khan would share the dais with the President and the chief minister at Delhi’s Vigyan Bhavan on Monday when Bihar receives the Krishi Karman award for commendable production of wheat in 2012-2013 despite drought.

The occasion would provide Nitish Kumar an opportunity to showcase his government’s five-year agriculture roadmap (2012-17), which President Pranab Muherjee had inaugurated in October 2012 amid much fanfare.

Thirty-two-year-old Kalpana, a resident of Pokhraira in Samastipur, who has produced 106 quintals of wheat per hectare, told The Telegraph over phone from New Delhi: “It is a proud moment for me and my family to get this award. I sincerely thank the state government for giving us all possible support and training to enhance our yield. Earlier, I used to produce only 40 quintals of wheat per hectare. However, after adopting the systematic wheat intensification (SWI) method, the production has increased manifold.”

Mohammad Zahid Khan (37) from Inmasnagar village in Samastipur district would receive the award for producing 128.2 quintals of wheat per hectare through SWI.

The government has initiated several novel methods to augment the yield of foodgrain under the roadmap.

In 2013, the state was awarded Krishi Karman award for production of rice. Along with Nitish, state agriculture minister Narendra Singh and principal secretary of the department Vivek Kumar Singh would be present on the occasion.

This year, the state has produced 61.74 lakh tonnes of wheat, which is relatively less than 65.30 lakh tonnes last year.

Explaining the reason for getting the award despite less production compared to 2013, Vivek said: “The award is given for excellent production under adverse circumstances. It was not an easy task to achieve this when the state was reeling from a long spell of drought.”

Vivek said he had given a presentation before the secretary, agriculture ministry, Ashish Bahuguna, at Krishi Bhavan on December 12, 2013, explaining how the state had managed to ensure better production of wheat despite adverse circumstances.

“The Union government was eventually convinced by our presentation,” he said.

Vivek added: “Last year, owing to residual moisture and terminal heat problem, the grain formation was relatively less. Moisture was deficient in the soil and hot weather conditions prevailed. However, we tried to overcome the odds by encouraging zero tillage sowing time and used the SWI method. The award would inspire other farmers. The credit should go to the efforts of the agriculture department.”

Farmers were provided a subsidy of Rs 700 per quintal for seeds and Rs 500 on purchase of fertilisers like zinc sulphate, crucial for soil fertility. They were given a one- time subsidy of Rs 15,000 on purchase of zero tillage machines and Rs 10,000 on diesel pump sets.