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Issues for Agricultural Development in Bihar. K.M.Singh and M.S.Meena ICAR-RCER, Patna. Presentation in the Technical Advisory Committee meeting of BMGF funded Improved Rice-based Rainfed Agricultural Systems (IRRAS) project on 03.09.2012 at Patna, India.

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Issues for agricultural development in bihar

Issues for Agricultural Development in Bihar

K.M.Singh and M.S.Meena


Presentation in the Technical Advisory Committee meeting of BMGF funded Improved Rice-based Rainfed Agricultural Systems (IRRAS) project on 03.09.2012 at Patna, India

Changing dynamics of the global food system
Changing Dynamics of the Global Food System

  • Agricultural productivity growth for most cereal crops has declined to less than 1% per year or even negative.

  • The production of biofuels has significantly distorted global food markets and prices.

  • Environmental issues like global warming are posing a serious challenge.

  • Fertilizer prices are now beyond reach of small and marginal farmers.

  • At the same time, economic growth, has substantially changed consumption patterns

  • And continuing population growth results in increasing food demand; therefore,

  • National food security has againbecome a major policy issue facing many countries including India.

Problems confronting agricultural research and extension institutions
Problems Confronting Agricultural Research and Extension Institutions

  • Both donor and government investments in agricultural research and extension have declined during the past two decades; the impact has been:

    • Most extension institutions have reduced staff numbers, little or no in-service training funds, and insufficient program resources.

    • Therefore, some development specialists, including donors, have concluded that public extension is, by nature, ineffective; therefore, it should be privatized.

    • However, where public extension systems have been strengthened, especially in India, they have been effective in diversifying farming systems.

Primary agricultural development goals
Primary Agricultural Development Goals Institutions

  • Achieving National Food Security through technology transfer (diffusion of innovations)

  • Increasing farm income through a more market-driven extension system

  • Empowering men and women farmers by organizing producer groups (building social capital) to build more effective links with markets for HVPs

  • Encouraging the use of sustainable natural resource management (NRM) practices

Background changing agricultural development goals
Background Institutions: Changing Agricultural Development Goals

  • During 20th Century, the primary goal was to achieve national food security

    • Green Revolution technologies developed by NARS and CG Centers helped achieve this goal

  • However, rural poverty remains a serious problem

    (average farm size is <1 hectares for 90% of farm households

  • Natural resource management, especially sustainable use of land and water, are very serious and growing constraint.

  • Therefore, the strategy should be to focus on innovative approaches to increasing farm income among small-scale farm households by helping them diversify their farming systems through the use of land and water-efficient, high-value crop and livestock systems.

Bihar agriculture
Bihar Agriculture Institutions

  • Bihar, third largest state with respect to population and seventh in terms of area.  

  • State supports 8.8 percent population of the country with only 2.8 per cent of land mass

  • About 69 per cent of geographical area is under cultivation

  • But one- third of geographical area faces various problems

  • Agriculture is an important sector and contributes about 16 per cent to State Gross Domestic Product

  • Agriculture also provides employment to 70 per cent of working force.

Bihar agriculture1
Bihar Agriculture Institutions

  • State is characterized by small land holders.

  • More than 90 % farm households are marginal with less than 1 ha land but own about 44% of cultivated land. 

  • Agriculture sector experienced a drastic change with respect to public investment, use of inputs, extension activities and crop-milk-fish production in recent years.

  • State government funding to agriculture gone up from less than Rs 200 crore during 2001-2006 to more than Rs 1,000 crore during 2006-2011.

  • State Agricultural GDP almost stagnant at Rs 32.5 billion during 1981-94 and its growth was negative in Ninth Five Year Plan (-1.4%) which turned positive in Tenth Five Year Plan (0.91%).

Bihar agriculture2
Bihar Agriculture Institutions

  • There was almost no growth in agriculture sector in Bihar during 1983-94.

  • During 1983-94 Net State Agricultural Domestic product stagnated at Rs 32.5 billion (at 1980-81 prices).

  • Per Capita income increased by only Rs 31 during the period i.e. from Rs 1003 (1983) to Rs.1034 (1994)

  • During 2004-11, State AgGDP grew at the annual growth rate of 2.7 per cent.

  • However, State Gross Domestic Product recorded growth of 10.9 per cent during the period which was higher than corresponding growth achieved at national level.

  • State agriculture sector achieved spectacular growth of 31 per cent in the year 2006-07.

Issues for agricultural development in bihar

Bihar Agriculture Institutions

  • However Bihar failed to maintain higher agriculture growth due to floods in 2007 and 2008, and drought in 2009 and 2010.

  • Despite drought, the state recorded the food grain production of 125 lakh tonnes and milk production of 63 lakh tonnes in 2010, indicating sustainability in agricultural production.

  • Agricultural production showed increasing trend during last five years.

  • Milk production increased from 3.0 million tonnes in 2004 to 6.3 million tones as 2010-11

  • Fish production also increased from 0.027million tones in 2004-05 to 0.030 tones in 2010-11

Issues for agricultural development in bihar

Bihar InstitutionsAgriculture

Problem area or Hidden Opportunities?

Issues for agricultural development in bihar

Area, Production and Productivity of Principal Crops in Bihar

A=Area in Million ha., P=Production in Million Tons, Y=Yield in Qtls/ha.

Issues for agricultural development in bihar

Incidence of Poverty in Bihar vs. India Bihar

(during last 30 Years)

Public sector extension
Public Sector Extension Bihar

Department of Agriculture

  • Present in all districts, up to Block, Panchayat

  • Staff numbers low; weak research link; top-down, linear

  • Perform non-extension duties & implement schemes

    Krishi Vigyan Kendras (ICAR)

  • Present in all districts, multi-disciplinary team

  • Staff low; partnerships/linkage rare; local coverage only

    State Agricultural Universities

  • Lab to land, frontline extension in few adopted villages or near location (farmer reach limited)

  • Weak partnerships and links between ICAR and Dept of Ag

Innovations in public sector extension in 10 th and 11 th five year plans
Innovations in public sector extension in 10 Biharth and 11th Five year plans

  • Support to State Extension Programs for Extension Reforms (SSEPER) -Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA)

  • Agri-clinics and Agribusiness scheme

  • Kisan Call Centre

Main points
Main points Bihar…….

  • Public sector extension is mainly technology delivery system

  • Private sector/NGOs expanding in extension but limited geographic scope

  • ATMA (innovation), more process driven BUT lack of personnel until 2010 led to uneven implementation

  • Extension focus on disseminating technology

  • BUT farmer groups, linking to markets, sustainability, natural resource management are still the major areas of concern.

  • Also, lack of understanding of market-led, demand-driven extension among the people managing extension activities, a major challenge.

Changes to public sector extension because of atma
Changes to public sector extension because of ATMA Bihar

  • More funding for extension and personnel

  • Increased linkages between line departments and KVKs

  • Farmer participation & decision-making

Organizational structure during pilot

Revised structure of ATMA 2010 Bihar

Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA)

Governing Board

ATMA Project Director

















ATMA Management Committee (AMC)

Farm Information & Advisory Centers (FIAC)

Farmer Advisory Block Technology

Committee (FAC) Team (BTT)





Farmer Interest Groups (FIGs) or Women Interest Groups (WIGs)

Organizational structure during pilot

Source: Singh,K.M., 2006

Bihar experiences
Bihar Experiences Bihar

  • ATMA dovetailed with Dept of Agriculture however autonomy is an issue (worried about duplicity)

  • ATMA funding mechanism good/easy and implemented

  • Added exclusive district staff through state funding (2007), hired Panchayat staff (4000) and farmer adviser (Kisan Mitra)

  • Activities production focus, technology dissemination state/district activity > block activity (e.g. SRI=state)

  • FAC, appreciated by farmers as a platform to share problems but has potential to become more of a socio-political entity (Fear of elite capture real)

  • Block Agriculture officer overworked – FAC/BTT not meeting monthly, as envisaged in project

  • Partnerships with other line departments, private sector, civil societies and NGOs weak

Additional manpower for extension
Additional Manpower for extension Bihar

Note: This is in addition to existing staff strength of 4500 with Department of Agriculture out of sanctioned strength of 8730 in Bihar.

Further considerations
Further considerations….. Bihar

  • Monitoring and evaluation of quality of activities, learning from processes, and impact

  • Enhanced funding to reach more farmers

  • More autonomy to decide on its activities

  • Capacity building on ATMA concepts to district/block level officers including BTT/FAC and

  • Qualitative strengthening of BAMETI

  • More focus on providing hand holding support to various farmer groups

  • Close linkages with SAUs/ICAR Institutes and KVKs

  • Along with Production focus, post-harvest and marketing should also be given equal importance

Some final points
Some final points Bihar

  • Despite pluralism in ATMA concept: departments and sectors work in isolation

  • Needs to move beyond transfer of technology,

  • Evolve as contexts require: flexible, adaptive, learning

  • Strengthen link between ICAR - Dept of Agriculture

  • Encourage partnerships with private sector and NGOs.

  • Monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment lacking, with few empirical assessments.

  • Also experimenting and learning from new ways of organizing extension lacking

Thank you