Title of document: Enhancing Agricultural Livelihoods through Community Institutions in Bihar, India

Authors: Debaraj Behera, Arvind Kumar Chaudhary,Vinay Kumar Vutukuru, Abhishek Gupta, Sitaramachandra Machiraju & Parmesh Shah

Ministry/Government Agency/Organization: World Bank and Bihar Rural Livelihood Promotion Society

Year of publication: 2016

Geographic focus: India, Bihar State

Bihar’s agriculture sector employs more than eighty percent of the labor force and more than fourfifths of these farmers are small and marginal. They have one of the lowest agricultural productivity in India that has not increased due to several constraints. Jeevika, a project jointly supported by the World Bank and the Government of Bihar, has piloted, customized and eventually scaled-up several innovative livelihood interventions to improve the well-being of poor households in Bihar. A number of innovative aspects account for the success of these livelihoods programs in the state. Foremost among these is the fact that it was implemented through community-driven and community-owned institutions. The institutional platform that was facilitated by the project has enabled the creation of a single-window system at the doorstep of small and marginal farmers. Farmers can now demand better services from the public sector, access credit from commercial banks, and experiment and customize various technologies. This note will focus on System of Crop Intesification’ (SCI), which has evolved from a well-known farming methodology called System of Rice Intensification. It has been customized and adopted for wheat, green gram, oil seeds and vegetables in Bihar. The participant farmers have witnessed 86% increase in rice productivity and 72% increase in wheat productivity. The profitability of rice cultivation has increased 2.5 times and has almost doubled for oil-seeds. Since 2008, implementation of SCI has contributed to an additional income increase of around US$10.7 million.