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 08-October -2012

EASTERN REGIONS TO BECOME THE FOOD BOWL OF THE COUNTRY

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Feature

Agriculture    

 

 

Dayawanti Srivastava*

 

            The eastern region of India is all set to increase its share in the country’s rice production. The initiatives taken by the Central and the State Governments of the region have already resulted in an impressive increase in production of food grains with the area now turning into a food surplus zone from a food deficit one.

            In order to address the constraints limiting the productivity of rice-cropping systems in eastern India, the Government launched a programme ‘Bringing Green Revolution in Eastern India’ (BGREI) two years back.  It operates in seven states viz. Assam, West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

            This programme, since its launch in 2010-2011 as a Prime Minister’s initiative based on the Inter Ministerial Task Force, has yielded remarkable results in rice and wheat production in the region. Under this programme Bihar and Jharkhand have shown quantum jump in rice production. Stupendous efforts have been made by the State Governments in extending technologies and practices to the farmers of the region for record production of rice and wheat. 

            The eastern region was selected for the project essentially to harness the region’s abundant water resources, necessary to enhance the production of food grains.  Water management is the main problem in eastern India, not water availability.  The premise is that with abundant water, it would be made possible to increase crop productivity if better agronomic practices are adopted, high quality seed is used and other inputs like fertilizers and pesticides are applied judiciously.  While Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh ushered in Green Revolution in India in the sixties, over-exploitation left these three states virtually depleted in terms of water resources.  This became a major concern of the country’s agriculture planners.

            Clearly, India needs to boost its food production to feed its ever-increasing population. The only way to ensure food security, a concern of every Indian, is to grow enough food grains domestically.  The eastern region has the potential of setting in a new Green Revolution.  There is no reason why it cannot become the food bowl of the nation, given the high priority and focus that the central and the State Governments are giving to BGREI.

            Therefore, a bouquet of activities have been taken up that include block demonstrations of rice and wheat technologies in cluster mode approach; promoting resource conservation technology (zero tillage under wheat); creation of asset building activities for water management (shallow tube wells/dug wells/bore wells, distribution of pump sets); promotion of farm implements and need based site specific activities etc.

            Adoption of hybrid rice technologies, line transplantation, SRI, micro nutrients, drum seeders are some of the success stories that have emerged from the hard work put in by the State administrations in the region.

            However, for the stability in production full potential of this enormously resource endowed region has to be realized.  Promotion of production technologies would need to be backed by effective marketing arrangements, procurement operations, power irrigation, value chain and rural infrastructure, institutional development for credit supply and lastly innovative approaches in extension to be able to reach out to a very large number of small and marginal farmers.  Moreover, the farmers should get the minimum support price for their produce and for that, the awareness about the grading standards should be extended to the farmers. A Committee of Chief Ministers of these States has been set up to oversee implementation of BGREI at top level and to ensure that the scheme continues to receive high priority.

 

 

(PIB Features.)

 

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*Media and Communication Officer, PIB

 

PIB Aizawl

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