Introduction to rganic farming in Bihar: Bihar is the third most populous state in India, with its population largely dependent on agriculture. Therefore, agriculture is the backbone of Bihar state development. Organic farming in the plains of Bihar can be a better option, which should be seen as an aspect of sustainable and sustainable agricultural development. The northern Indian state of Bihar ranks twelfth with an area of 94,163 sq km.
The agriculture sector is the backbone of Bihar’s state economy, employing 81% of the workforce and producing about 42% of the state’s GDP. In Bihar, the population is more dependent on agriculture than the rest of the country. The state has natural resources and favorable conditions for agricultural development such as fertile soil, water, and favorable climatic conditions. Several important steps have been taken for the rapid development of agriculture in the state. Compared to conventional agriculture, organic farming uses fewer pesticides, reduces soil erosion, reduces nitrate emissions from groundwater and surface water, and recycles animal waste back into the farm. These benefits are balanced by higher food prices for consumers and generally lower productivity. The yield of organic crops is about 25% lower than that of traditionally grown crops, although this can vary greatly depending on the type of crop. The challenge for the future of organic farming will be to maintain its environmental benefits, increase productivity, and lower prices in the face of the challenges of climate change and a growing world population.
A guide to starting organic farming in Bihar, schemes, and organic certification
Organic farming helps protect the soil. While chemical farming makes it acidic. If we want to protect our soil, we must adopt organic farming. Organic farming systems have attracted increasing attention over the past decade as they are thought to offer some solutions to the problems currently plaguing the agricultural sector. Organic farming has the potential to provide benefits in terms of environmental protection, protection of non-renewable resources, and improved food quality.
Agro-climatic zones for organic farming in Bihar
Organic farming is generally associated with the “return to nature” process. In general terms, organic farming avoids chemical fertilizers and pesticides and seeks to increase soil fertility by incorporating food and sewage, food plant waste, and food processing waste, etc., into the soil. The diverse agricultural climate and geographical conditions of Bihar are characteristic of this place. The region has a rich agricultural climate, rich in diverse topography and agro-climatic conditions, indicating the abundant potential of agriculture, horticulture, and forestry.
Bihar is mainly divided into three agro-climatic zones;
1. North Eastern alluvial region.
2. Northwest alluvial area.
3. South Bihar alluvial Zone.
Most of the population is dependent on agriculture, with a per capita income of ₹ 43,822. The average per capita income is the highest in Munger. The full potential of organic farming in Bihar cannot be utilized unless organic farming is done in groups or on a community basis. In its current form, the organic residue used here is an unorganized and more unplanned method. As a result, farmers do not get adequate agricultural benefits.
Bihar is short of composting companies and investors. Suppliers of high-quality organic goods will need a reliable and regular supply of organic goods, especially vegetables for their consumption. However, the reliability of supply and materials is a major problem for most small and marginal farmers, as it is difficult to meet the needs of individual established buyers. Most of Bihar’s agricultural production is on a small scale. Agricultural producer organizations will have to be formed here and concrete steps will have to be taken in this direction in coordination with the farmers. Small-scale farmers and rural communities are in a low-margin balance cycle. This results in lower risk-taking and lower investment resulting in lower productivity, lower market conditions, and lower prices. To participate in the developed markets after globalization, small and backward farmers need to unite and adjust to a new environment to survive.
Objectives of organic farming in Bihar
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The Government of Bihar has launched several programs to encourage organic farming, aimed at promoting sustainable production, improving soil organic carbon to maintain soil quality, and promoting the export of quality organic produce. To give in the first phase, based on the experience of the first organic village, Pothia, Samastipur, one village in each of the 38 districts was selected as organic or bio-village. Bio-village is defined as a unit to improve the physical, chemical, and biological status of soil through locally available organic inputs and crops production through scientific methods by farmers at the village level. This concept helps reduce production costs, increase fertility and prevent soil degradation. The area under vegetable cultivation and the number of milch animals are the two main criteria for choosing a bio-village.
The state should set up special agricultural export zones for commodities and provide necessary assistance for their marketing. With proper development of markets, through cooling arrangements in storage and transportation, processing and quality care, grading, standardization, packaging, etc., products like Lychee, Mango, and Banana and some vegetables are also exported to other states can be done outside the country, which will help improve farmers’ incomes. Some strategies and programs have been formulated regionally for the successful implementation of the third Agriculture Roadmap in line with the geographical structure and changing needs of the state. The department is making a meaningful effort to revolutionize the state through various programs in the areas of organic farming, food security, nutrition security, inclusive growth, and ways to increase farmers’ incomes.
Major soil types in Bihar
Maintaining soil health produces plenty of high-quality nutrients.
1. To maintain and enhance the long-term fertility of the soil.
2. Encouraging and enhancing the biological cycle for microorganisms, soil, and other organisms on the farm.
3. Prevent the side effects of chemical fertilizers and chemicals.
4. Maintaining genetic agricultural diversity in and around farming systems.
The soil of Bihar is mainly;
Classification into three parts;
1. Hill soil – It is mainly found in the northwestern part of western West Champaran. 2. Terai alluvial soil – It is found in the border district near northern Bihar and Nepal.
3. Ganga alluvial soil: It is found in the Gangetic plains of Bihar.
Crops grown under organic farming in Bihar
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Fruits and vegetables are widely grown in Bihar. Bihar is a famous state for Banana, Litchi, and Mango production. Farmers here rely mainly on the monsoon for irrigation. The organic food basket of the Bihar state is having so many products including Vegetables, Mango, Litchi, Turmeric, Sugarcane, and Pineapple, etc.
the major cereal crops in Bihar are Rice, Wheat, and Maize. Arhar, Urad, Groundnut, Gram, Pea, Lentils, and Khasaria are some of the pulses that are cultivated in Bihar. Bihar is the largest producer of vegetables, dominated by Potatoes, Onions, Eggplants, and Cabbage. It is the largest producer of Litchi and the 3rd largest producer of Pineapple, as well as the main producer of Mango, Banana, and Guava. Sugarcane and Jute are two other major cash crops of Bihar.
For organic crops cultivation, the Bihar government has launched an “Organic Farming Promotion Program”. The government has to prepare 38 “Organic Villages” for which an amount of Rs. 255 crores have been sanctioned for five years. Dahour (Patna), Sartha (Nalanda) Belsand (Gopalganj), Gaighat Jaata (Muzaffarpur), Rajapaakar (Vaishali), and Narpatganj (Araria) are some of these villages in Bihar.
At present, farmers in these villages are producing only organic vegetables and fruits, including Potatoes, Cabbage, Tomatoes, Cabbage, Peas, Lady Finger, Carrots, Lychees, Guavas, and Mangoes, etc. Demand for organic produce is growing, especially in domestic markets and export markets. Spring is strong in producing some high-quality crops, vegetables, fruits, and spices that are suitable for the organic production system. The Department of Agriculture, Bihar has taken steps to promote large-scale organic farming.
Status and potential of organic farming in Bihar
Soil quality and climatic conditions are favorable for organic farming and it has immense potential. Bihar can exchange many methods of organic farming with Sikkim. It should be noted that Sikkim has been declared a fully organic state in 2015 itself. The Department of Agriculture of the Center and the States and their respective units can take good initiatives in this direction. These units should formulate a policy for organic farming and liaise with farmers for its implementation. Agricultural implements promoting modern agriculture should be encouraged. Using information technology, farmers will have to deal with weather conditions, so that they can plan for minimal use of peraknashi and kitnashi.
Organic farming can be a boon for Bihar as an investment in farming is kept to a minimum. The process yields a higher return on low input costs, which will attract small and backward farmers in the area. Due to the high rainfall in the region, biomass is likely to be produced which can be used as a valuable source of organic nutrients for sustainable crop production. Poverty can also be eradicated by maximizing the production of fruits and vegetables by promoting planned agriculture.
Organic farming here will not only improve the weather conditions but also eliminate the harmful effects of chemicals on health. The use of various crops will also encourage food security. Under the organic production system, there is a great potential to expand horticultural crops to maximize yields. Small vegetable industries can also be promoted. Vegetables can be stored for a long time by setting up food processing and cold storage units. Such treatment will increase employment, which will lead to the economic growth of the state. Rice and coarse grains are also grown in Bihar. The use of organic farming will increase the production of rice and improve its nutritional quality. There is also scope for dairy processing and standard processing and the residue obtained from it can be used for composting.
Importance of organic farming in Bihar
- The Bihar State Government has promoted organic farming in 13 districts of the state namely Patna, Nalanda, Bhojpur, Buxar, Saran, Vaishali, Samastipur, Lakhisarai, Begusarai, Munger, Khagaria, Bhagalpur & Katihar. The extension is possible in all districts.
- Department of Agriculture, the Government of Bihar intends to set up an organic mission to promote sustainable organic farming in the state and to bring all central and state schemes related to organic farming under one roof. The mission will be set up by the state government as an institutional mechanism to effectively implement various central and state-sponsored schemes on organic farming throughout the state of Bihar. The mission will also be responsible for developing the necessary programs, schemes, and operational mechanisms for the implementation of various state government initiatives for organic farming in the state of Bihar.
- ‘Organic Farming Corridor’ was set up by the Bihar government along river Ganga with 13 districts, including Patna.
- Bihar produces a different variety of vegetables with traditional paddy and potatoes along the banks of river Ganga.
- As part of the corridor, the state government is encouraging farmers to receive training in organic farming without the use of fertilizers.
- The organic farming corridor was created by joining 13 districts on both sides of river Ganga. Under this scheme, farmers are being given the facility of agricultural input grants and free certification for organic farming. So far, 188 farm product organizations have been included.
Promotion of organic farming in Bihar
Organic farming is being promoted to maintain the fertility of the soil and ensure sustainable farming. Several important steps have been taken through various schemes to promote organic farming to protect the environment.
Establishment of Organic Corridor – An innovative project to build organic corridors on either side of the Ganga coast and national and state highways, in the wake of the Patna Declaration, to maintain a steady flow in the river Ganga.
Establishment of Ideal Organic Village – One village will be selected in each district under a pilot project to create an ideal organic village and all interested persons will be encouraged to set up units for the production of vermicompost and Gobar gas.
Under the Agricultural Input Subsidy Program, farmers will be provided a grant twice a year from the sowing season to encourage the production of organic vegetables.
Agricultural Marketing System – A website will be developed that will show the prices in the main markets in real-time. Large-scale modern silos and warehouses will be set up in the market premises of the disintegrated market committees.
Bihar State Organic Mission
The Bihar State Organic Mission has been set up in the state of Bihar to fulfill Bihar Government’s commitment to increase Bihar’s revenue and make Bihar a leading state in the field of organic agriculture. The Director of Agriculture said that to encourage the distribution of Bihar’s organic products from the state to the world and the country’s markets, the department organized two competitions such as logo designing and tagline writing are being organized by the Department of Agriculture, Government of Bihar.
The key proposed areas of intervention for the Bihar State Organic Mission are;
- Promoting organic farming in the state of Bihar
- Receiving funds as approved by the department of agriculture.
- Activation and facilitation of implementation process planning and identification of commodities, clusters, area, etc. as per approved organic farming schemes.
- Facilitate availability of seed/planting material and input for organic farming in the state.
- Monitoring and supervision field activities related to the scheme to ensure timely success.
- Facilitate tie-ups with commercial enterprises and entrepreneurs for the establishment of value-added infrastructure.
- Facilitate credit facilities and financial institutions for the distribution of subsidies.
- Activities such as branding, labeling, packaging, promotion, and certification of processing units involved in organic farming and its processing.
- Organize seminars/conferences, workshops, buyer-seller meetings, etc. to promote organic farming in the organic state.
- Facilitate the marketing of producer and consumer awareness and information through publicity, printed literature, films, and local advertisements.
- Facilitate marketing of organic products; ensure the information and knowledge received through the information and knowledge ecosystem and ensure its timely data uploading.
A village in Bihar turning to organic farming
A village in Bihar set an example by turning to organic farming. More than half the population of Kedia village, 20km from Bihar’s Jamui district, has turned to organic farming. Kedia village is the first village to switch to organic farming. Kedia village, about 20 km northeast of Bihar’s Jamui district, consists of 100 families. More than 50% of these farming families have switched to organic farming. They do organic farming on about 45 acres of land in the village. Families who have not yet adopted organic farming are seriously considering it. Kedia has also affected the surrounding villages. Kedia Village’s vegetables, fruits, and crops have gained a unique identity across the country. In addition, people get good prices for their vegetables in local markets.
Bihar State Seed and Organic Certification Agency
The Bihar State Seed and Organic Certification Agency have set up a facility at a government agricultural farm in Fatuha, about 20 km east of Patna, to teach farmers organic farming. Organic farming is now practiced on 2,500 acres in the districts along the Ganga and along some national highways.
Seed certification is a formal process designed to preserve, maintain, and make available certain specific levels of genetic purity, physical purity, physical quality, and health in seeds, including the vegetative propagating materials of high-yielding plant species.
The purpose of such seed certification is to develop and operate such a procedure or arrangement through various stages of seed production, processing, storage, and handling to meet the requirement specified in the definition.
Bihar State Seed and Organic Certification Agency (BSSOCA) is committed to providing its customers, the Organic Operators, with strict procedures to enhance the quality, tolerance, and reliability of the system production system and has trained and qualified professionals there. Ensures the quality of the final organic product by employing individuals. To provide the latest platform for compliance with all applicable regulatory requirements and continuous improvement of the management system. The Bihar State Seed and Organic Certification Agency (BSSOCA) will issue scope certificates to organic operators who comply with the National Organic Production Program (NPOP).
Organic farming strategies to increase farmer income
The real potential for organic farming in Bihar is also due to the poor farmers here. Most producers have small haircuts, so there are not enough size holdings available to provide enough surplus to offer inside and outside marketing. The region awaits timely availability of biological materials in these areas and appropriate guidance for government agencies and policymakers. There is some uncertainty about the application of biological input, will this system be able to provide complete nutritional value for soil health? In such cases, the government needs to review the nutrients found in organic fertilizers and instill confidence in farmers that its use will maintain soil quality. In this context, the following strategies can be considered;
- Farmers use a variety of organic fertilizers such as bio-fertilizers, vermicompost, cow dung, and compost, etc. Management of nutrients for organic farming will lead to higher crop yields without reducing the productivity of the land, thus increasing income.
- Organic fertilizers are scientifically prepared in laboratories by selecting soil-friendly microorganisms. The number of beneficial bacteria in 1 gram can be more or less than one million when making a bio-fertilizer. These are azotobacter, rhizobium, blue-green algae.
- The use of organic fertilizers such as vermicompost, green compost, and oil cake provides all the nutrients in the soil, which leads to higher crop yields.
- The most important task for organic farming is to select the right seed, for which farmers can buy seeds from reliable or government agencies.
- Farmers will also have to undergo training for organic farming. The number of agricultural training centers in Bihar is not large and it is far from the wealth of farmers. The Bihar government will have to move in this direction and set up agricultural training centers.
Pest control management for organic farming
Organic pesticides are derived from naturally occurring sources. These include living organisms such as the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis, which are used to control caterpillar pests, or plant derivatives such as pyrethrin or neem oil. Inorganic pesticides based on minerals like sulfur and copper are also allowed.
Good organic pest control and management include weed control, weed control, organic pest control, and plant disease control, all of which depend on techniques such as integrated pest management, biological control, physical control, and shaded clothing. In organic farming, pests and diseases are naturally controlled by the use of plant extracts and medicinal plant extracts, and beneficial micro-organisms (biocontrol agents). It deals with bio-control agents, bio-fungal agents, bio-bacterial agents, and many more.
In addition to pesticides, organic pest control combines biological, cultural, and genetic control to reduce pest damage. Biological control uses natural insect pests, such as predatory insects (e.g., ladybugs) or parasitoids (e.g., certain wasps) to attack insect pests. Insect cycles can be affected by cultural control, with crop rotation being the most used. Finally, traditional plant breeding has produced a variety of crops that are resistant to certain pests. The use of such varieties and the cultivation of genetically diverse crops provides genetic control against many pests and plant diseases. Organic farming reduces the use of pesticides and chemicals by reducing major environmental problems. It also reduces environmental issues such as soil erosion, air pollution, and water pollution, etc.
Schemes for organic farming in Bihar
To encourage large-scale organic farming to make RKVY an organic state, the Department of Agriculture has prepared a five-year roadmap for the promotion of organic farming in the state.
The objectives of the program are;
- To encourage states to increase their investment in agriculture and allied sectors.
- Provide flexibility and autonomy to states in planning and implementation of programs for agriculture.
- Achieve the goal of reducing production disparities in key crops to ensure the preparation of agricultural plans for districts and states.
- Giving maximum profit to the farmers.
- Integrated agriculture and allied sectors.
The process to get an organic agriculture product certificate in Bihar
Procedure to get organic agriculture product certificate;
- A person (farmer/farmer group/processor/trader) who is looking for a certificate of organic farming for his agricultural produce should ensure that his form is from the National Organic Production Program (NPOP) by the established standards for organic crop production.
- They must apply in the required format along with the fee and fully verify the field specified by the National Program for Organic Production (NPOP).
- Bihar State Seed and Organic Certification Agency (BSSOCA) Certification Step BSSOCA Website Link.
- The application form can be downloaded from the BSSOCA website under the Downloads section. Go to the application form for Organic Certification – Individual Operator.
- All information provided in the application by Bihar State Seed and Organic Certification Agency (BSSOCA) must be provided such as name, address, contact person details, field location, group details complete, signed, and must be returned to the office for registration.
- After the applicant is examined and then accepted, a letter of offer (estimated fee for inspection and certification) and an agreement copy will be sent to the operator by the evaluator. In cases where the client cannot be accepted for certification due to technical reasons, it will be reported to the concerned.
- The operator is registered on tracenet. The proposed registration fee, field inspection fee, one-time travel cost should be paid to the person applying along with the application form.
- A preliminary inquiry form has to be submitted for inspection and certification under NPOP production. Upon receipt of payment, in consultation with the operator, the date of an inspection warning letter is sent along with a copy of the form record and a copy of the NPOP standard.
- The inspection will be done on the day it is finalized and a signed copy will be provided to the contract operator.
- The group verifies the data entered into the traced net by the CB group for farmers and also records large and minor discrepancies with the deadline for corrective action.
- Upon receipt of full payment, the evaluator operator reviews the file and submits it to the Certification Committee. A final decision is done by the Certification Committee based on the corrective action taken by the operator against the inconsistency in the inspection report.
- The quality manager will prepare the certificate through trace net and then send it to the operator.
- To use the Certification Agency logo/India Organic logo, the operator has to send an application to the office after the approval of the Certification Committee as per NSOP. The draft labels are sent to the certification agency’s office for verification and then approval before printing.
Make sure organic certified products are associated with authenticity for 2 to 3 years. For the first time certification, the soil must meet the basic requirements of being free from the use of prohibited substances (synthetic chemicals, etc.) for many years. Though, a conventional farm adheres to organic standards for this period.
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