Enhancing Pulses Production in Bihar: Constraints and Strategies for Sustainable Growth
19 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2017
Date Written: June 23, 2017
Food grains are the major agricultural commodity, produced on about 93 percent of cropped area, of which pulses share merely 7.06 per cent and the productivity of pulses ranges between 819 kg/ha in 2000-01 to 897 kg/ha in 2013-14. Bihar ranks 9th in terms of pulses production with a contribution of 0.52 million tons to the national pulse pool. Traditionally pulses have been considered important elements of cropping systems in the Bihar, but with the introduction of irrigation and high profitability of alternative sources of soil nutrients in the form of inorganic fertilizers in 1960s, pulses were replaced or relegated to marginal lands and were substituted by high- yielding varieties of rice and wheat. There has been an incessant decline in pulses area, production and productivity during last three and half decades accounting for about 437.24 thousand hectares, 428.93 thousand tons and 981 kg ha-1 respectively in 2014 - 15 against the corresponding figures of 717.2 thousand hectares, 620.7 thousand tons and 865 kg ha-1 in 2000-01 registering a compound annual decline of -2.5 percent in area and -0.41 percent in production but productivity increased by 2.15 percent per annum. Lentil is only crop which has performed well in Bihar whereas area and production of most of the major pulses have gone down.
In Bihar 2.2 million ha rice fallow land is there which are most suitable for pulses cultivation where medium and long duration paddy is cultivated and after field vacating due to lack of irrigation facility and delay normally the field remains vacant. Post rainy season crop becomes difficult but in some areas relay cropping of small seeded lentil and lathyrus is done by broadcasting the seeds in the standing crop of rice 7-10 days before harvest when there is adequate moisture for germination and converting these mono-cropped areas into double cropped ones by pulses like moong, urd, and lathyrus can increase pulse production and sustain productivity of the rice-based system. There is need to popularize this system by developing varieties suitable for relay cropping and standardization of this agro-technology. Pulse production in Bihar is adversely affected by a number of biotic and abiotic stresses which can be overcome by assembling the available components of integrated pest management like host plant resistance, cultural practices to disrupt the life cycles of pests, and need-based use of pesticides and to validate them in farmers' participatory on-farm trial and demonstration in farmers field, to deliver management components effectively to stabilize and increase the productivity of pulses. There is also need to strengthen extension efforts to disseminate available pulse technologies through on-farm demonstrations and farmers' participatory research.
Keywords: Pulses production, Abiotic constraints, Biotic constraints, Bihar
JEL Classification: Q1, Q11, Q16, Q18
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