Greenpeace India Submits Its Feedback On Bihar Government’s Third Agricultural Roadmap Draft

Press release - July 5, 2017
Greenpeace India today submitted its feedback on Bihar Government’s latest Agricultural Road Map Draft, to Sudhir Kumar, Principal Secretary of the state’s Agriculture Department.

Patna, 4 June 2017| Welcoming the proposed third agricultural roadmap (2017-22) by the Bihar government, the environmental organisation expressed its hope that the roadmap would be a major step towards realising the dream of an Organic Bihar.

Ishteyaque Ahmed, Senior Campaigner with Greenpeace India, lauded the initiative saying, "The proposed roadmap has many elements which are essential to initiate a paradigm shift towards ecologically empowered and climate resilient robust agriculture system. We are also able to see the risk-taking appetite and openness to innovations in the roadmap, to make farmers of the state self-dependent, hence economically well-equipped to tackle the economic onslaughts of current times.”

Ishteyaque further added, "We congratulate the authors and designers of the Third Roadmap for proactively aiming for achieving the goal of increased farmers’ income; and shifting focus on organic and ecological ways of farming is the most obvious and natural option for achieving the visionary task.  We also welcome the proposal of developing one village in each district of the state as the model ecological farming village and creating organic farming corridors along the Holy Ganga and all state and national highways in the state. We are also appreciative of the proactive steps of the concerned departments for identifying Patna-Nalanda road-links to be developed as the first organic farming corridor and further identification of 9 districts in the state for promotion of organic vegetable production. We know that achieving these objectives in a short span of 5 years is a herculean task and requires immaculate planning, transparency, and an effective execution.”

Greenpeace India has suggested in its feedback, that all provisions in the roadmap which aim to help farmers adopt Ecological Agriculture, be brought under the single umbrella of the Ecological Bihar Mission. It also stressed on drawing up a ‘biomass conservation and quality enhancement strategy’ by adding a few more elements such as ‘cattle-sheds with pucka floors and urine collection tanks’, ‘eco-san toilets’, ‘promotion of vegetable, fruit and other ecologically suitable trees’, rainwater harvesting infrastructures such as shallow wells, bunds, lakes and ponds etc. in the list of subsidised items.

Greenpeace India has also suggested the creation of a single-window application clearance system in all identified villages and corridors, so that farmers can easily take advantage of this scheme by completing all the formalities of the process at one stop. Implementation of continuous training for farmers, farmers' counsellors and related experts has also been underlined in the organisation’s suggestions. Extra emphasis has been laid on setting up of a separate department on ecological farming, promoting research and conducting ecological farming programs in all institutions related to  agriculture, where sharing of knowledge, experience and new experiments related to ecological farming can take place.
Welcoming the acknowledgement of market linkage as an essential component of ensuring good returns to the organic farmers in the roadmap, Greenpeace India recommended that the roadmap should aim at connecting all the organic/ecological food producers through a chain of Block-level to state level Ecological food producer markets. A regular review of the policies and strengthening of implementation processes laid down in the roadmap has also been proposed.