Development Strategy in Bihar through Revitalizing the Agricultural Sector: A Preliminary Analysis
Based mainly on secondary data and partly on primary information obtained through field surveys in selected rural areas in Bihar in 2011, this paper firstly argues the critical importance of agricultural growth for overall economic development, and then reviews the sluggish growth of agriculture in Bihar in the past and examines the major reasons for this. The long-term negligence of agricultural research (especially development and diffusion endeavors for improved rice varieties suitable to the local conditions of Bihar) by the state government and some sort of ‘backwardness’ in tube-well irrigation technology can be pointed out as important constraints. There is, in particular, the ‘paradox’ in Bihar agriculture of why rice and wheat yields have remained so low in spite of the relatively well-developed irrigation by tube-wells. Finally, by showing the process of a rapid increase in autumn and winter rice yields during the 1990s in West Bengal, it is suggested that Bihar farmers and policy-makers should learn from the experience of West Bengal in order to get some hints for the development of the rice sector in Bihar.
Keywords: Bihar, agricultural backwardness, rice improved varieties, tube-wells, experience of West Bengal
JEL classification: O1, Q1
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