Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today said the state would give a boost to organic farming by forming a "corridor" along both sides of the river Ganges. "Organic farming is the way forward. Many enterprising farmers in our state have taken initiatives on their own to take up this type of farming. We are going to promote it in a big way by building an organic farming corridor along both sides of the Ganges flowing through the state," Kumar said. The chief minister was speaking after welcoming President Ram Nath Kovind who was here to launch the Bihar government's ambitious "third agricultural roadmap", for the period 2017- 2022, containing schemes worth Rs 1.54 lakh crore. "One of our aims, through this roadmap, is to realise the dream of having at least one dish from Bihar on every Indian's plate. "The state has already made huge progress in the production of paddy, wheat, maize and potatoes. In terms of per hectare yield of paddy and potatoes our farmers have surpassed their counterparts in China," he said. But there is vast untapped potential as far as other vegetables, fruits and fisheries are concerned. Previous accomplishments in agriculture followed the first two roadmaps of 2008-2012 and 2012-2017.
Future goals are earmarked in the third roadmap, he said. The Chief Minister also said the roadmap envisioned use of treated sewage for the purpose of irrigation so that the water is not discharged into rivers. "Another area of focus is production, storage and distribution of seeds for which our state has largely been dependent on outside help. In view of increasing mechanisation of farming, our government has also decided to incentivize manufacture of machinery used in farming," Kumar said. The chief minister also claimed that during his tenure, green cover in the state went up "from nine per cent to nearly 15 per cent, thanks to planting of nearly 18 crore trees". "Our aim is to reach the target of increasing green cover to 17 per cent," Kumar added. "Measures will also be undertaken to ensure adequate power supply for irrigation purposes. Road connectivity will reach even smaller and more remote villages. Formation of cooperative societies will also be encouraged for better marketing of agricultural produce," he added. The chief minister also said that "shrinking size of land-holdings is a factor that hampers agricultural productivity. In the third roadmap, there is a proposal for consolidation of land-holdings to arrest this trend".
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