Nitish calls for massive agricultural plan

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New Delhi, Apr 6 (UNI) Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has demanded that the Centre launch a massive agricultural plan saying that there is tremendous scope for agricultural growth in the state.

The Bihar Government has declared 2008 as "Agriculture Year" and hopes to double farm incomes through gainful pursuit of horticulture, fisheries, dairy and animal husbandry.

Talking to reporters after he called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here last evening, Mr Kumar said the state recognised that to achieve the Eleventh Plan targets of an average of 8.5 per cent GDP growth, agriculture had to grow at higher than the national growth trends.

For this purpose a kisan panchayat of 200 progressive farmers was held on February 17 and a roadmap prepared for agriculture and allied sector, he told reporters.

Elaborating, Mr Kumar said farm growth could be doubled provided there was full support from the Centre.

"Agricultural producitivity in rice is expected to go up from 14.86 quintal a hecratre to 26.71 quintal per hectare, wheat from 25.55 quintal per hectare to 30.50 quintal per hectare." Similarly, he said maize production was expected to rise to 26.71 quintal to 35.25 per quintal.

According to him, the per capita annual production was projected to rise from Rs 661 in 2004-05 to Rs 1,061 at the end of the Plan period.

A financial outlay of Rs 3,757 crore would be required for this purpose in the Eleventh Plan, he said.

He emphasised the need for a credible seed replacement policy, transfer of technology and extension and marketing support particularly to mango, litchi, guava, banana and sugarcane besides potatoes, tomatoes, onion, brinjals, peas and drumsticks.

The Chief Minister, was accompanied by Mr N K Singh, former chairman of the state Planning Commission and Rajya Sabha member, Mr C K Mishra, Resident Commissioner among others.

UNI SD MSJ RK1510

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