Bihar’s Organic Farming Model Fails to Impress as Farmers Struggle with Low Yield and High Input Cost

Environmental News from India: 

  • Bihar government’s organic farming scheme has been operating in 13 districts along the river Ganga.
  • But organic farmers are struggling with low yield, limited selling avenues, and unavailability of effective pest management on the organic crops.
  • Experts say the state government needs to adopt a more effective model, including proper training of farmers, to make organic farming a sustainable option.

The Union Budget of 2022 emphasized the need to encourage organic farming in India, especially along the river Ganga. The 2,525 km-long river originates from the Gangotri glacier of the Himalayas and drains into the Bay of Bengal. Along its journey, the river passes through a total of 10 states, including Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, and West Bengal. Its total catchment area is about 8,61,404 square kilometers. This is the area where the government has been encouraging organic farming, as reflected in the announcements made by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

The Bihar government had a headstart on this concept, having launched its own organic corridor around two years ago in 13 districts along the banks of Ganga – Patna, Buxar, Bhojpur, Saran, Vaishali, Samastipur, Khagaria, Begusarai, Lakhisarai, Bhagalpur, Munger, Katihar and Nalanda.

However, neither the Bihar government nor the center has specified the basis on which these corridors around Ganga have being earmarked.

The Organic Farming Corridor Scheme is an ambitious programme of the Bihar government. For the scheme to be implemented, a cluster of at least 25 acres of farmland, with a minimum of 25 farmers, is a prerequisite. Farmers involved in organic activities are given Rs. 11,500 per acre every year. This grant is given for a maximum of two acres of land.

As per the scheme, the grant is given for a maximum period of three years. Also, out of the grant of Rs. 11,500, the farmer has to spend at least Rs. 6,500 on buying certified compost and plastic drum from the National Program for Organic Production (NPOP). A structure of vermicompost also needs to be prepared from the remaining Rs. 5,000.

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Source: Mongabay

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