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Bihar is the top Litchi producing State, about 300 thousand metric tonnes of Litchi is being produced from 32 thousand hectare areas. Litchi producers of the State was facing a tough challenge to preserve it for a longer period. Their worries are over now. Scientists at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and National Research Centre on Litchi succeeded in treating litchi and preserving it for 60 days at low temperature.
Recently Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh inaugurated a state-of-the-art Litchi Processing Plant in Muzaffarpur, Bihar. He said, “ The main objective of the Central Government is focused on research to develop new varieties and techniques of litchi farming to increase its production and to share information with the Extension Division.”
In Bihar, about 300 thousand metric tonnes of Litchi is being produced from 32 thousand hectares of area. Bihar's contribution in the production of litchi is about 40 percent. Considering the importance of litchi, National Research Centre on Litchi was established on June 6, 2001. The contribution of Muzaffarpur district in Litchi’s production is impressive, but there is a need to increase the productivity of litchi, which is currently 8.0 tonne. For this, all the government institutions, cooperatives and farmers will have to come forward.
It is promising to note that scientists at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and National Research Centre on Litchi have succeeded in treating Litchi and preserving it for 60 days at low temperature. One of its processing plants has also been developed. The technique will be useful for the Litchi producers and businessmen. To make this technique effective, Litchi producers will have to produce superior quality fruits for which National Research Centre on Litchi has developed several techniques.
The National Research Centre on Litchi is providing about 35-40 thousand plants every year to various institutions/states in the country. The National Research Centre on Litchi is working closely with other institutions of ICAR and agricultural universities of the state and the development centres of the Central and State Governments like National Horticulture Board, APEDA, National Horticulture Mission among others.
The scientists are working day and night to develop advanced varieties and agricultural activities and that State Governments, KVKs and other institutions should take it to the masses. Through its limited resources, the Centre has implemented ICAR’s Farmers First project in East Champaran district. As many as 1,000 families from 8 villages (Mehsi Block-Uzhilpur, Bakri Najir, Damodarpur Village, Chakia Block- Khairwa, Ramgarha, Jishnupura, Ojha Tola- Vaishah and Chintanpur-Malahi Tola village) are reaping the benefits of several new techniques. And the unique initiative by the Council allows farmers to test advanced technology themselves. And now there is a need to create awareness about it. Through ‘Mera Gaon- Mera Gaurav’ program, scientists have been successful in taking new techniques to some villages.
The Centre has initiated Health Card scheme through which orchards are being examined and farmers are being sensitised. Not just Bihar, Litchi fruit farming can be successfully done in other parts of the country too. Therefore, there is a need to promote research in these areas too. It is expected that new varieties and new technological breakthrough will help Litchi farmers, producers and traders of Bihar and the entire nation in increasing their income.