|(a) General Information||(b) Agro and Sub Agro-Climatic Zones|
|(c) Climate||(d) Land Holdings|
|(e) Cropping Pattern||(f) Scope of Farm Mechanization|
Bihar is located in the eastern part of the country (between 83°-30' to 88°-00' longitude). It is an entirely land–locked state, although the outlet to the sea through the port of Kolkata is not far away. Bihar lies mid-way between the humid West Bengal in the east and the sub humid Uttar Pradesh in the west which provides it with a transitional position in respect of climate, economy and culture. It is bounded by Nepal in the north and by Jharkhand in the south. The Bihar plain is divided into two unequal halves by the river Ganga which flows through the middle from west to east. An area of 621635 ha is covered by forests. Bihar is divided into 3The population of Bihar in 2001 was 82878796 comprising 43153964 males and 39724832 females. It formed 8.06% of India’s population. Population density in the State was 880/km2. Agriculture is the vital source of wealth in Bihar. 76% of its population is engaged in agricultural pursuits.
Bihar falls in the Agro Climatic Zone–IV, which is called “Middle Gangetic Plains Region”. Based on soil characterization, rainfall, temperature and terrain, this zone is further divided into sub-zones i.e. Zone-I, North Alluvial Plain, Zone-II, north East Alluvial Plain, Zone-III A South East Alluvial Plain and Zone-III B, South West Alluvial Plain, each with its own unique prospects. There are three major types of soil in Bihar i.e. Piedmont Swamp Soil - found in northwestern part of West Champaran district. Terai Soil - found in northern part of the state along the border of Nepal. Gangetic Alluvium - the plain of Bihar is covered by gangetic alluvium (both new as well as old).
The State has three distinct seasons, viz. Winter (December to February), Summer (March to May) and Rainy season (June to September). The rainfall (Southwest monsoon) occurs during the months of June–September with retreating southwest monsoon during October to November. The average rainfall in this region is 1,205 mm and the average rainy days in a year are 52.5 days. The summers are generally quite hot and winters are fairly cool.
The total geographical area of Bihar is 9.36 million hectare and the area under forest is 621635 hectare. The net area sown is 5.638 million hectare and the gross cultivated area is 7.946 million hectare. The area sown more than once is 2.538 million hectare with the cropping intensity of 142%.. About 3.521 million hectare net area and 4.386 million hectare gross area receive irrigation from different sources (By canals- 33.6%, By Tubewells- 54.6 % and by others –11.8%). The percentage of net irrigated sown area is 62.5%. The total number of land holdings are 104.32 lakhs out of which 86.46 lakh (82.9%) are marginal farmers, 10.06 lakh (9.6%) small farmers and 7.81lakh (7.5%) farmers hold land above 2 hectare.
The state is endowed with rich biodiversity. Bihar is the third largest producer of vegetables and fourth largest producer of fruits in the country. It is the largest producer of litchi, makhana, guava, lady’s finger in India. The state already exports litchi, basmati rice and snow pea. It has competitiveness in maize, rice and fruit such as banana, mango, litchi and vegetables like onions, tomato, potato and brinjal. The principal agricultural crops are paddy, wheat, jute, maize and oil seeds. Cauliflower, cabbage, tomato, radish, carrot, beat etc. are some of the vegetables grown in the state. Sugarcane, potato and barley are some of the non-cereal crops grown. The entire agricultural operations are divided into two crop seasons i.e. kharif and rabi. The kharif season starts from the third week of May and lasts till the end of October followed by the rabi season.
The farm power availability in the State during the year 2001 was 0.80 kW/ha. Bihar’s productive contribution in food grain, fruit, vegetables, spices and flowers can increase manifold with improved methods and system management. By adopting precision agriculture and use of appropriate type of agricultural machinery the overall productivity can easily be increased 2–3 times. The region receives good rainfall and the water table is high. By adopting proper water management practices the entire agricultural land can be converted into irrigated land. Use of sprinkler and drip irrigation system can help in increasing water use efficiency. The area has good scope for growing good quality fruits and vegetables. The region has also high population density. By following scientific methods of production, making best use of agricultural labour force and adopting proper Post-Harvest Technology at farm/village level, the production of horticultural crops can be increased many folds. The region has good opportunity of agro-processing activities in the production catchments for increasing income and employment opportunities and reducing poverty line If greater emphasis is given on production of horticultural crops, milk, fish, poultry, etc. on scientific lines with proper infrastructural support for washing, cleaning, grading, drying, packaging, storage, cold storage, handling and transport with refrigerated vans/cool chains, the region can emerge as a big supplier of these products and can supply its produce to big markets of Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai etc. in addition to other cities in the region. With encouragement to contract/cooperative farming on scientific lines, the production of high value crops can be increased substantially. Since individual ownership of costly agricultural machinery is not economically viable due to small holdings, custom services of improved, energy efficient, high capacity precision equipment have good scope of introduction and popularization in this region.