Agriculture of Bihar :- Agriculture of Bihar is the vital source of wealth in the State with about 79% of its population is engaged in agricultural pursuits. Agriculture of Bihar productive contribution in food grain, fruit, vegetables, spices and flowers can increase manifold with improved methods and system management.
Based on soil characterization, rainfall, temperature and terrain, four main agro-climatic zones in Bihar have been identified. These are:
The lands of this zone which are alluvial plains are sloppy towards the south east direction with a very low gradient as evidenced by the direction in which the rivers flow. In this Zone West Champaran, East Champaran, Siwan, Saran, Sitamarhi, Sheohar, Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Madhubani, Darbhanga, Samastipur, Gopalganj and Begusarai are covered. However, the rivers move eastward direction along the natural levee before they finally meet the Ganga. As a result, there are vast waterlogged areas in the districts of Saran, Vaishali and Samastipur. Due to near flatness of the landscape, vast area gets flooded during rains.
This zone has the following six broad soil association groups:
- Sub – Himalayan and forest soils
- Recent alluvial tarai soils
iii. Young alluvial calcareous soils
- Young alluvial calcareous saline soils
- Young alluvial non – calcareous, non saline soils, and
- Recent alluvial calcareous soils
The soils are moderately rich to poor in nitrogen (especially in Gopalganj and Siwan districts), moderate to very low in available phosphorus and medium to high in available potash. The soils are showing symptoms of deficiency of zinc and iron mostly induced by high available calcium.
(b) Agro- Climatic Zone II ((Northern East)):
This zone, the alluvial plains of Kosi, Mahananda and its tributes and Ganga (a narrow strip in the south) is slightly undulating to rolling landscape mixed with long stretches of nearly flat landscape with pockets of areas having sub – normal relief. In this Zone Purnea, Katihar, Saharsa, Supaul, Madhepura, Khagaria, Araria and Kishanganj are covered.
Three broad soil association groups have been identified in this zone are:
- Recent alluvial tarai soil
- Recent alluvial non calcareous soil
- Recent alluvial calcareous soil.
The soils are very light to medium textured except for those in between the natural levees of Ganga and Kosi and Mahananda and away from the influence of running water of the rivers.
(c) Agro-Climatic Zone III ((Southern East & West)):
This zone can be categorised in two Sub zone:-
- Agro-climatic zone IIIA (Southern East):- Districts lies in this Zone are Sheikhpura, Munger, Jamui, Lakhisarai, Bhagalpur & Banka.
- Agro-climatic zone IIIB (Southern West):– Districts lies in this Zone are Rohtas, Bhojpur, Buxar, Bhabhua, Arwal, Patna, Nalanda, Nawada, Jehanabad, Aurangabad, Gaya.
Agro-Climatic Zone III is zone is the alluvial plains of river Ganga on its southern side and the sediments are received both from river Ganga and those flowing from the south having their origins in the Chhotanagpur Plateau, which rise abruptly from the plains. In the south of the natural levee of the Ganga, there is vast stretch of backwaters known as “Tal” lands extending from Buxar to Pirpaity, where most of the rivers and rivulets coming from the south get lost. The flood plains of Ganga, which get reworked and get eroded and deposited at regular intervals, are lighter than “Tal” lands known locally as Diara lands.There are no marshy lands in this zone.
The main broad soil association groups recognized in this zone are :
- Recent alluvial calcareous soils
- Tal land soils, light grey, dark grey medium to heavy textured soils
- Old alluvial reddish yellow, yellowish grey centenary soils.
- Old alluvial grey, grayish yellow, heavy texture soils with cracking nature
- Recent alluvial yellowish to reddish yellow non calcareous non saline soils.
- Old alluvial yellowish to red yellow soils of foot hills
- Old alluvial saline and saline alkali soils.
The soils of this zone except that of ‘Diara’ area and ‘Tal’ lands are moderately well drained to somewhat poorly drained, moderately acidic to slightly alkaline and medium textured to heavy textured soils.
Land Utilization Pattern:-
Out of total geographical area, 57.12 lakh hectare is under cultivation which is around 60 per cent of the total. 23.58 lakh hectare area is put to cultivation more than once in a year. Therefore the Gross cropped area is 78.82 lakh hectares.
Source wise Net Irrigated Area (Lakh Acre):-
- Tube wells-55.35
Irrigated area to net cultivated area is 61.12%
Crop wise Gross Irrigated Area (Lakh Acre):-
Agriculture Cropping Pattern:-
Cropping pattern in dominated by cereals. Rice-wheat cropping system occupies more than 70% of the gross cropped area. Pulses occupy around 7 percent of the gross cropped area. The important cropping sequence of different zones is:
(a) Agro- Climatic Zone I ((Northern West–)): Rice – Wheat, Rice – Rai, Rice – Sweet Potato, Rice – Maize (Rabi), Maize – Wheat, Maize – Sweet Potato, Maize – Rai, Rice – Lentil, Rice-linseed
(b) Agro- Climatic Zone II ((Northern East)): Jute – Wheat, Jute – Potato, Jute – Kalai, Jute – Mustard, Rice – Wheat – Moong, Rice – Toria
(c) Agro-Climatic Zone III ((Southern East & West)): Rice – Wheat, Rice – Gram, Rice – Lentil, Rice – Rai
According to the old and existing data, a brief analysis is made on the status of Horticulture in the state which is furnished below:
- Fruit Crops:-
The major fruit crops grown in Bihar are Mango, Guava, Litchi, Banana, etc. apart from these major crops minor crops like. Makhana, Pineapple, Betelvine are also grown. The area of fruit crops in Bihar during 2005-06 was 291.61 thousand hectares which was increased to 331.52 thousand hectares in 2014-15. Similarly the production was also increased from 3068.4 25 thousand metric tonnes in 2005-06 to 4120.88 thousand metric tonnes in 2014-15, the productivity of fruit crops has also increased significantly in 2008-09 (12.45) as compared to 2005-06 (11.2). Almost all the districts of North Bihar particularly Muzaffarpur, East Champaran and Samastipur have good potentiality in respect of litchi cultivation. Similarly Makhana, a pioneer fruit of Bihar is also grown intensively in the districts of Darbhanga, Madhubani, Saharsa, Katihar, Araria and Purnea.
Almost all vegetable crops like solanaceous, cucurbits, beans, cole crops, okra, onion and other root crops are widely grown successfully in the state. The total area of vegetable crops was recorded 498.529 thousand hectare with the production of 7654.435 thousand metric tonnes (2005-06) which increased to 912. 21 thousand hectare with the production of 15968.25 thousand metric tonnes (2014-15).
Chilli, Turmeric, Coriander, Ginger, Garlic & Methi are the major spices grown in Bihar.
The major commercial flowers like Marigold, Rose, Tuberose, Gladiolus and Jasmine are cultivated in Bihar.
- Aromatic Plants:-
The aromatic plants like Japanese Mint, Lemongrass, Pamaroja, J. citronella have been promoted by Horticulture Mission for commercial cultivation among farmers.
Recend developments towards Agriculture:–
- Recently the government gave its nod for an ambitious “agriculture road map (2017-22)” aiming to ensure “at least one Bihari dish on the plate of every Indian” over the next five years at an estimated cost of nearly Rs 1.55 lakh crore. Execution of the road map will also help attaining desired objectives of food security, nutrition, inclusive development and increase in farmers’ income.The road map includes programmes by as many as 12 departments, including Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Pisciculture, Revenue and Land Reforms, Water Resources, Power and Food Processing.
- Recently Government has decided to launch a unique plan of developing “organic corridors” alongside both banks of river Ganga by encouraging vegetable farmers of selected riverine villages not to use chemical fertilisers in their fields. Besides providing some financial incentives for using “only organic manures” in the fields falling under the corridor, the government would also suggest the farmers to re-use treated waters of those sewerages which fall in the holy river. The “organic corridor” scheme will be launched in the last week of coming October from a village near Patna.
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