Bihar’s organic farming shining in other states

The SRI (System of Rice Intensification) organic method of paddy cultivation that has been successfully employed in Bihar has aroused interest in other states as well, officials here said Monday.

The SRI method saves water, uses lesser seeds and gives higher yield.

Locally known as Srividhi, the SRI method was introduced in the state three years ago. Initially, the farmers were reluctant to adopt this new technique despite the state government providing free seeds, fertilisers and experts to guide them. But now more farmers are taking to this method of paddy cultivation.

Impressed with its success in Bihar, Andhra Pradesh is replicating the method.

“The central minister of state for rural development, Agatha Sangma informed that Andhra Pradesh is replicating SRI method for increasing the crop yield,” an official of the state agriculture department said.

Last week, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar launched a SRI campaign 2012 to create more awareness about this scientific method and to encourage farmers to adopt it.

Sumant Kumar, a farmer in Darveshpura village in Nalanda district, had created a “world record” last December by producing 224 quintals of paddy per hectare using the SRI method, officials said.

Bihar Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh told IANS that farmers last year achieved up to 40 percent more paddy yields by adopting SRI method of cultivation. “We hope that farmers would reap paddy harvests of 300 quintal per hectare in coming days,” he said.

Earlier this month, Surendra Prasad of Sarilchak village in Nalanda, about 100 km from Patna, produced 135.75 quintals of wheat per hectare using the SRI method.

Agriculture Production Commissioner A.K. Sinha said the government was planning to set aside seven lakh hectares for SRI method, six lakh hectares for hybrid paddy and more than eight lakh hectares for pulses, particularly moong.

Sangma during her visit to the state early this month lauded SRI method and asked officials concerned to spread it on a larger scale to increase the crop yield.

She visited a village in Gaya district where wheat cultivation was being carried out by the Sri method, an official said.