Introduction to Agriculture Department, Bihar
Bihar, with its bountiful natural resources of fertile soil, abundant water,
varied climate and rich cultural and historical heritage is one of the most
fascinating states of India. The farmers are intelligent and hard working.
Therefore agriculture has been described as the core competence of Bihar by the
Hon’ble President of India.
Agriculture is the vital source of wealth in Bihar. 76% of its population is
engaged in agricultural pursuits. Bihar’s productive contribution in food grain,
fruit, vegetables, spices and flowers can increase manifold with improved
methods and system management.
Bihar has a total geographical area of about 93.60 lakh hectare, out of which
only 56.03 lakh hectares is the net cultivated area and gross cultivated area
being 79.46 lakh hectare. About 33.51 lakh hectares net area and 43.86 lakh
hectare gross area receive irrigation from different sources. Principal food
crops are paddy, wheat, maize and pulses. Main cash crops are sugarcane, potato,
tobacco, oilseeds, onion, chillies and jute and. Bihar has notified forest area
of 6,764.14 sq km, which is 7.1 per cent of its geographical area.
Bihar is located in the eastern part of the country (between 83°-30' to 88°-00'
longitude). It is an entirely land–locked state, although the outlet to the sea
through the port of Kolkata is not far away. Bihar lies mid-way between the
humid West Bengal in the east and the sub humid Uttar Pradesh in the west which
provides it with a transitional position in respect of climate, economy and
culture. It is bounded by Nepal in the north and by Jharkhand in the south. The
Bihar plain is divided into two unequal halves by the river Ganga which flows
through the middle from west to east.
Bihar with a geographical area of about 94.2 thousand square km is divided by
river Ganges into two parts, the north Bihar with an area of 53.3 thousand
square km and the south Bihar having an area of 40.9 thousand square km. Based
on soil characterization, rainfall, temperature and terrain, four main
agro-climatic zones in Bihar have been identified. These are: Zone-I, North
Alluvial Plain, Zone-II, north East Alluvial Plain, Zone-III A South East
Alluvial Plain and Zone-III B, South West Alluvial Plain, each with its own
The principal agricultural crops are rice, paddy, wheat, jute, maize and oil
seeds. Cauliflower, cabbage, tomato, radish, carrot, beat etc. are some of the
vegetables grown in the state. Sugarcane, potato and barley are some of the
non-cereal crops grown. The entire agricultural operations are divided into two
crop seasons Kharif and Rabi. The Kharif season starts from the third week of
May and lasts till the end of October followed by the Rabi season.
Though endowed with good soil, adequate rainfall and good ground water
availability Bihar has not yet realized its full agricultural potential. Its
agricultural productivity is one of the lowest in the country, leading to rural
poverty, low nutrition and migration of labour. This road map is aimed to
trigger processes of development in agriculture and allied sector. The state is
endowed with rich biodiversity. Agriculture provides ample supply of raw
materials for the establishment of Agro based industries. Bihar is the third
largest producer of vegetables and fourth largest producer of fruits in the
country. It is the largest producer of Litchi, Makhana, Guava, Lady’s finger in
India. The state already exports Litchi, Basmati rice and snow pea. It has
competitiveness in maize, rice and fruit such as banana, mango, litchi and
vegetables like onions, tomato, potato and brinjal. High, stable and regular
supply of agricultural produce provides adequate opportunity for marketing and
food processing industries.