Bihar to produce 100 lakh tonnes paddy this year

Patna, April 23 (IANS) After attaining record production in 2012-13, Bihar has set a target of 100 lakh tonnes of paddy this year by using the SRI (System of Root Intensification) method of cultivation, an official Tuesday said.

“We have set a target to increase rice production from 87 lakh tonnes in 2012-13 to 100 tonnes in 2013-14 by using SRI method of paddy cultivation,” agriculture production commissioner Alok Kumar Sinha said.

He said the government has planned to bring 25 lakh acres under paddy cultivation through SRI method in the kharif season to achieve the target. “SRI method of paddy cultivation is so far successful in different parts of Bihar as it requires less water and gives 2-3 times the yield compared to traditional cultivation of rice,” Sinha said.

Sinha told IANS that SRI method is set to change the face of paddy cultivation in the state as thousands of farmers have been adopting it following encouraging results and its success.

Rice production in Bihar was 36.4 lakh tonnes in 2009-10 which increased to 81.87 lakh tonnes in 2011-12 and 87 lakh tonnes in 2012-13, thanks to SRI method. Agriculture secretary Vivek Kumar Singh said that SRI method will mainly contribute to meet the new target of paddy production.

Sinha said the agriculture department has devised an SRI logo, a song in Bhojpuri and Maithili, extolling the virtues of the new method, and a film explaining SRI methodology of paddy cultivation. “All these would be used on large scale to popularize SRI method of rice cultivation in rural areas,” he said.

“Our motto is to reach out to millions of farmers to create awareness about success of SRI method as it saves water, uses lesser seeds and gives higher yield,” he said.

Locally known as Srividhi, the SRI method was introduced in the state four years ago. Initially, the farmers were reluctant to adopt this new technique despite the state government providing free seeds, fertilisers and experts to guide them. But now more farmers are taking to this method of paddy cultivation.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar would launch a SRIvidhi mahaabhiyan (major campaign) here Wednesday to create more awareness about this scientific method and to encourage farmers to adopt it.

Sumant Kumar, a farmer in Darveshpura village in Nalanda district, had created a “world record” in 2011 by producing 224 quintals of paddy per hectare using the SRI method, officials said.

Bihar Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh said that farmers have achieved up to 40 percent more paddy yields by adopting the SRI method.

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