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The Philippines to help Bihar better its rice

The Philippines to help Bihar better its rice

June 14, 2018


Matthew Morell, the director general of International Rice Research Institute, Manila, The Philippines, on Wednesday had a meeting with state agriculture minister Prem Kumar and other senior department officials.The participants discussed the avenues through which the premier research institute could help Bihar to enhance rice productivity and help the state in providing seeds of paddy of such a quality which could withstand vagaries of weather.Morell said: "We see a very good opportunity to work with Bihar farmers and universities in the state for enhancing rice productivity and add more value to the crop."


The institute had introduced seven new varieties of paddy in the state last year, and this year too it has introduced two new varieties ahead of the kharif season when paddy cultivation is mainly done in the state.The institute is going to work in close cooperation with the Bihar Agriculture University and the state agriculture department for collecting data from the field to assess the outcome of its efforts by introducing new varieties of paddy. The international institution has also set up its south Asia regional centre at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.


Agriculture minister Prem Kumar said he urged the institute team to provide paddy varieties to Bihar which could withstand the vagaries of nature as Bihar had 21 flood-prone districts in its northern parts and 17 drought-prone districts in the southern region.


"I have been informed that International Rice Research Institute has developed a paddy variety whose plant does not get damaged even if it remains under water for 15 days. This could be very useful for north Bihar districts and urged the team to develop such a variety which could survive up to one month despite being under water. Similarly, I drew the team's attention towards the water problem in south Bihar districts and requested to provide varieties which could give good productivity even when there is a scarcity of water," Prem said while sharing the details of the meeting.


Paddy cultivation is being done in 33 lakh hectares in Bihar and the state produced around 71 lakh metric tonnes of rice last year. Productivity-wise the state stands at sixth place in the country. Even within the state there are wide variations in productivity and while it is around 2,000kg per hectare in the Bhojpur region, its level comes down to around 1,000 kg per hectare in the Bhagalpur region.The minister also announced that the agriculture department would provide land to the International Rice Research Institute in its farms both in north and south Bihar so that the institute could demonstrate the benefits of using its paddy varieties among farmers.



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