Bihar organic farmer sets record in potato production

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s dream of India’s second green revolution taking off from Bihar seems to be coming closer to reality. A young farmer of Darveshpura village in Nalanda district has set what is claimed to be a world record in potato production through organic farming.

Three months ago, a group of farmers in the same village had created a “world record” producing 224 quintals of paddy per hectare using the SRI (System of Rice Intensification) method.

The potato farmer, whose name is also Nitish Kumar, has harvested 72.9 tonnes of tuber per hectare. The world record so far was 45 tonnes per hectare held by farmers in the Netherlands, officials said.

Nalanda District Magistrate Sanjay Kumar Agrawal said several officials and agricultural experts were present in the field at the harvest time to verify the claim and record it.

“The world record is the result of hard labour and experiment with organic farming,” Agrawal said.

Kumar Kishore Nanda, a soil scientist, who helped Nitish Kumar, said success was a result of the organic method of farming. “Once again the organic method of farming proved superior to other methods of farming.”

Nanda said the loam soil of the village is suitable for several crops, including potato.

Rajesh Umath, a district horticulture officer, said the new record will certainly go a long way in removing doubts about low production associated with organic farming and encourage other farmers to adopt it.

Nalanda, the home district of the chief minister, is already the leading potato producing district in Bihar with farmers growing the crop on over 27,000 hectares.

Bihar is the third largest potato producing state after Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Last year, five farmers of the village are said to have created a world record when they produced 224 quintals of paddy per hectare.

A young farmer, Sumant Kumar, produced 224 quintals of paddy per hectare beating the world record of Yuan Longping of China with 190 quintals of paddy produce per hectare.

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has certified Sumant Kumar’s record.

The SRI method of paddy cultivation was introduced in the state three years ago. Initially the farmers were reluctant to adopt this new technique despite the state government providing free seeds, fertilisers and experts to guide them. But now more farmers are interested in adopting this method in paddy cultivation.

An upbeat chief minister had then termed it “a big achievement” in the agriculture sector in the state. The next green revolution in the country would be ushered in from Bihar, he had said.

(Source: IANS/Patna reported in Gulf Times, Thursday,15 March, 2012, at 12:24 PM Doha Time http://www.gulf- times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=492754&version=1&template_id=40&parent_id=22)