Bihar farmer sets organic wheat production record

A farmer from Bihar's Nalanda district has set a national record in organic wheat production, say officials.

A wheat farmer, Surendra Prasad of Sarilchak village in Nalanda, about 100 km from Patna, has produced 135.75 quintals of wheat per hectare using the SRI (System of Rice Intensification) organic method.

The national record so far was 100 quintals per hectare held by a farmer from Araria district in the state, say officials.

"I am happy to set a new national record in wheat production, but unhappy that I could not set a world record. I will try next year," Surendra told IANS here.

In 2010, a farmer from New Zealand had created a world record with 156.37 quintals of wheat per hectare.

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

"The record is a result of hard labour and experimentation with organic farming," Agrawal said.

Kumar Kishore Nanda, a soil scientist who helped Surendra, said his success was a result of organic farming. "Once again the organic method of farming has proved superior to other methods."

Nanda said the soil of the village was suitable for several crops, including wheat.

Umesh Kumar Umesh, a district agriculture officer, said the new record will certainly go a long way in removing myths about low yield associated with organic farming and encourage other farmers to adopt it.

Nalanda is the home district of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is keen to develop agriculture in the state.

In view of a bumper wheat crop, the state government has set a target of wheat procurement of 12 lakh tonnes this year.

Nearly a month ago, Nitish Kumar, a young farmer from Darveshpura village in Nalanda, had created a world record in potato production through organic farming, officials said.

He had harvested 72.9 tonnes of the tuber per hectare. The world record so far was 45 tonnes per hectare held by farmers in the Netherlands, officials said.

Three months ago, Sumant Kumar, a farmer in the same village, had created a "world record" by producing 224 quintals of paddy per hectare using the SRI method, officials said.

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