There is a need for private investment in agricultural marketing infrastructure at all levels

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Nand Kishore, Director Horticulture-Cum-Mission Director, Government of Bihar

My main approach as Director of Horticultural Development Mission in Bihar revolves around the concept of cluster cultivation mode. The cluster approach not only helps in a better and economical way to obtain different horticultural inputs, but it also provides a better marketing platform and minimal postharvest loss, says Nand Kishore, Director Horticulture-Cum-Mission Director, Government of Bihar in this interview with Elets news network.

What is the agricultural scenario of Bihar.

Bihar is one of India’s fastest growing states and the key to overall development is the agricultural sector. The solid basis of Bihar’s agriculture lies in its fertile Indo-Gangetic alluvial soil and adequate water resources, especially groundwater. The diverse and favorable agro-climatic conditions of Bihar help in the production of a variety of crops, fruits and vegetables. Flower production in Bihar has improved considerably in recent times.

What are the main agro-food products of the state? Please indicate the rank of producers according to the country.

The main cereal crops in Bihar are rice, wheat and maize. Bihar is one of the main producers of these three food grains in the country. Arhar, gram and pea are the main legumes grown in Bihar. Bihar is the sixth largest producer of fruit, the third largest producer of vegetables, the sixth largest producer of rice, the fourth largest producer of corn and the sixth largest producer of wheat in India. The main fruits produced in Bihar are mango, lychee, banana and pineapple. Bihar produces nearly 70 to 80 percent of India’s lychee.

What initiatives have you taken as Mission Director?

My main approach as Director of Horticultural Development Mission in Bihar revolves around the concept of cluster cultivation mode. The cluster approach not only helps better and economically to obtain different horticultural inputs, but also provides a better marketing platform and minimal post-harvest loss. In this context, a new scheme has been prepared under the name of “Bihar Rajya Udyanik Utpad Vikas Yojana“. In this program, a small-scale sorting, grading, packaging, storage and processing unit will be provided to the group of farmers on the farm who did the cluster cropping on a minimum area of ​​50 ha. Apart from this, for better fruit and vegetable plant material, initiatives have been taken to provide better inputs and good quality plant material to the Center of Excellence.

Who are the main players in the agro-marketing sector and how do they contribute to the progress of the sector?

In my opinion, stakeholders in the agricultural marketing sector can be broadly divided into direct and indirect stakeholders.

Agro-marketing players

Direct speaker Indirect stakeholder
·Farmers · Financial institutions
Group of farmers like FPOs, FIG Carriers
The man in the middle Marketing infrastructure developers
Aggregators Storage house
Whole seller · Developers of physical infrastructure such as roads, electricity, etc.
Consumer
· Government

The Agricultural Products Marketing Committee (BAZAR SAMITI) no longer exists in Bihar.

Recently, the Department of Cooperatives of the Government of Bihar launched the vegetable marketing system in the urban area through a van called TARKARI which is becoming popular due to its price and quality.

What are the areas for improvement that you would like to put in place in the sector?

There is a need for private investment in agricultural marketing infrastructure at all levels. The weekly Gramin Haats (village markets) can be strengthened by providing support to the farmer group. Local grading, standardization and packaging facilities will contribute to better marketing with more income for farmers.

What is the scenario for exporting agricultural products from Bihar?

The export of Bihar agricultural products from Bihar is negligible, but agricultural products like honey, makhana (fox nuts), some vegetables and fruits, etc. from Bihar are exported from other parts of the country. Some food grains, lychee, honey and makhana have high export potential. Bihar is eager to export its high quality fruits like lychee, mango and banana. We are planning to export its vegetables like sharp squash, okra, bitter gourd, etc. to Arab countries.

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