Late rain and current cold wave brighten chances of bumper wheat, maize output.
The monsoon clouds left Bihar’s farmers high and dry, but they have not given up hope. Late rain and the current cold wave have brightened chances of bumper wheat and maize output. The state agriculture department shares this optimism.
“The kharif left us uncomfortable, but the past is past. We are hoping for a bumper rabi crop,” said Ashok Kumar Sinha, agriculture production commissioner. “The figures are good and we believe we will be able to compensate the kharif loss. If everything goes as expected, we will produce almost seven million tonnes wheat and more than two million tonnes maize. We are also expecting a good output of pulses.”
The area under wheat in the rabi season is expected to be 2.4 million hectares, more than the last year’s figure by almost 200,000 ha. The government expects a 1.5-fold rise in wheat output this season. The agriculture department is expecting seven million tonnes this season, as compared to 4.62 mt last year, besides a rise in the average yield.
Sinha said, “In the past few years, we have done extensive work in areas of seed development, farming practices and mechanisation. Our farmers now have better access to quality seeds. The state received showers in the last quarter of the previous year. The current temperatures are also good for the rabi crop.”
Apart from wheat, the department is expecting an increase in the output of maize and pulses. Last year, maize was sown on about 420,000 ha in the rabi season; the official target for this season was 550,000 ha. Officials said last year’s drought meant lower maize sowing. Till now, say the data, maize has been sown on around 320,000 ha. The department expects the target to be met by the end of January, by when sowing will be complete. The expected rabi output is a little over 2.1 mt; last year, it was 1.3 mt.
The government also expects a bumper output of pulses. The area covered is expected to be around 725,000 hectares; last year, it was 480,000 ha. So far, 440,000 ha has been covered by pulses.
The department expects an output of about 750,000 tonnes compared to 420,000 tonnes in the last season.