A two-day contingency planning meeting of the State Department of Agriculture (DoA) was organised by Bihar Agricultural Management, Extension and Training Institute (BAMETI) in Patna during 7-8 September, 2013. The objective of the meet was to create a strategic plan to meet the challenge of drought-like situation prevailing in Bihar. Mr. A.K. Chauhan, Agriculture Production Commissioner and Principal Secretary along with Dr. R.N. Singh, Director BAMETI, District Agriculture Officers (DAOs), scientists from Rajendra Agricultural University (RAU), Bihar Agricultural University (BAU), Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), ICAR and progressive farmers participated in the discussions.
Dr. R.K. Malik, Hub Manager – CSISA Bihar Hub, presented the key interventions that can help mitigate the losses owing to the current drought-like situation. The best management practices for wheat during Rabi season were prioritized in favour of early wheat sowing (i.e. Nov 1-15), zero tillage, long-duration wheat varieties, control of Phalaris minor and irrigation management (at least 3 to 5 irrigations). Increasing the cropping intensity to 300% with short-duration rice-mustard-spring maize or summer moong and intercropping of vegetables with winter maize were also suggested by CSISA.
These interventions were suggested on the basis of data generated from Bihar and Eastern UP. To avoid terminal heat in the end of March, Dr Malik suggested that early wheat sowing will allow wheat crop to reach at physiological maturity with no loss to wheat yields. Early wheat sowing and zero tillage are expected to be jointly implemented by DoA with research groups including CSISA. Dr Malik urged the APC and officers of DoA and Dr M.C. Diwakar, Director, Directorate of Rice Development, Patna, to facilitate joint efforts for the adoption of non-cash inputs like early wheat sowing.
In this meeting, Dr. Sain Das, former Director Maize; Dr. V.P.Singh, Director Research, RAU Pusa; Dr. I.S Solanki, Head, IARI Regional Station, Dr. Pusa; B. Parmar, DRR, Hyderabad; Dr. Himanshu Pathak, IARI, New Delhi; Dr. Manoj Kumar, Head, CRPS, Patna; and Dr. J.S Misra, DSR, Hyderabad, also presented their views on mitigating the risk of drought in Bihar.