The Union Minister of Agriculture and farmers’ Welfare Shri Radha Mohan Singhaddressedthe 18th Foundation Day celebrations of the Indian Council ofAgricultural Research - Research Complex for Eastern Region (ICAR-RCER) in Patna, Bihar.Addressing the gathering, Shri Singh said the ICAR-RCER, Patna has not only been working in the areas of paddy, wheat, pulses and oilseeds, but is also doing commendable work in crop diversification, livestock development, fishery management, water management, horticulture, agro-forestry and soil science. He said the purpose of ICAR-RCER, Patna, is to work for sustainable farming in seven Eastern States whose geographical area is only 22.5% whereas its population is 34%. Besides, 31% of the total livestock is found in this region.The Minister said that the entire country is dependent on the Eastern region for food security. The Gangetic plains, being extremely fertile, are able to ensure food security of the entire country. The Eastern Plateau can play an important role in increasing yield in fruits and vegetables. He further said that in the current scenario, the Eastern region leads in the production of rice, vegetables and freshwater fish and ensures 50%, 45% and 38% production in rice, vegetable and fish at the national level respectively. With a focused development of this region, he said, the region is capable of playing an important role in the production of pulses, oilseeds, fruits, vegetables, milk, fish and grains.
Shri Singh alsosaid that agricultural mechanization, impact of climate change on agriculture, excessive wetland & population density, livelihood of landless farmers, development of 100 lakh hectares of fallow land are big challenges on which emphasis must be given. Despite abundance of ground water in the Eastern region, the region lacks groundwater harnessing due to lack of energy. He said that the Prime Minister Shri NarendraModi led Government’s focus is on increasing electricity generation and ensuring power supply for household and agriculture will help alleviate this problem.The Minister added that for research on integrated farming by ICAR, a new research center has been established in Motihari for intensive research, technical creation and dissemination.For this, six scientists have already been appointed. Integrated agricultural system model has been developed in Patna, Pusa, Sabour, Madhepura, Kaimur and Buxar. This model will help in enhancing food and nutrition security and also in increasing income. So far, 1450 farmers have embraced this model and have earned profit ranging between Rs.1.8 lakh and Rs.2.5 lakh per hectare/year. Alongside agriculture, with optimal use of dairy, fishery, beekeeping, silk& mushroom farming, food processing and value addition, farmers can enhance their income and ever create employment opportunities. A progressive farmers’ database has also been created in Bihar and Jharkhand which provides information about their work so that farmers in other regions could benefit from it and contact them.