Organic farming beneficial for Bihar: ASSOCHAM

Promotion of organic farming in Bihar can raise the income of farmers and lead to wealth accumulation of over Rs. 1,000 crore besides generating exports worth Rs. 500 crore, according to a new study by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India. The study was released on Friday.

According to the independent research study by ASSOCHAM titled ‘Organic Bihar – Way to Agricultural Prosperity', with Bihar's agrarian population (nearly 81 per cent) generating 42 per cent of the State Domestic Product, organic farming has the potential to generate over 20 lakh jobs in the State within five years.

The study notes that around seven lakh additional jobs can also be generated if on-farm storing, processing, value addition, packaging and marketing facilities are included with the caveat that organic farms provide over 30 per cent more jobs per hectare as against non-organic farms.

“Adoption of organic farming can increase net per capita income of a farmer in the State by a whopping 250 per cent from Rs. 1778 to Rs. 4,445 in the next five years,” says ASSOCHAM secretary-general D.S. Rawat, adding that such a move would effectively check the migration of people from Bihar to other States in search of jobs.

Onus on the State

The study proposes conversion of at least 35 per cent of the cultivable land in the State into organic farms in the next five years, thereby allotting seven per cent of the cultivable land annually for organic farming.

It recommends that the State Government promote the concept of an ‘organic village' in each of the 38 districts to encourage use of organic fertilizers so that the land is protected from residual effects of chemical fertilizers that are currently being used.

It further notes that ‘organic certification' is imperative for adding value to a default organic system and to enable farms to explore domestic and export markets in order to fetch better prices.

The study emphasises and supports formation of a State nodal agency, the Bihar Institute of Organic Agriculture (BIOA) for the purposes of training, certification and transferring technologies related to production, packaging, processing and marketing.

This agency may function through a public-private partnership model in consultation with the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority.

The report recommends that the government initiate the process by identifying five districts for complete conversion into organic hubs aided by facilitating buy-back arrangements and the presence of international retail giants like Wal-Mart and Carrefour.

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